Ross asked me to drop you a line about my experience with carp.
I am a Sydney resident and keen bushwalker/fisherman in the regions surrounding Sydney. Twenty years ago, when I first started trout fishing in the waterways around Sydney, there were plenty of trout as well as native species in the warmer areas. The carp have progressively begun to take over these areas. They take the food supply of the native fish as well as stir up the sediment from the bottom which makes it uninhabitable for other fish. They breed very quickly and are now in plague-like proportions. On a recent trip into the Coxs river, a pool would have held 30-40 carp (in excess of 10lb) with no native fish or trout present.
The problem with carp is that once any get into a river system, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has declared them a noxious pest but also acknowledges that they are not able to deal with the issue. Put simply, the carp have ruined several fisheries and the surrounding ecosystem.
Put simply, I would be terrified about any carp farm in the region. It only takes one example of fish being released or an accident and it would have a catastrophic effect. Not just on the local rivers but wherever the carp moved (which is again, impossible to control).
I’d be happy to talk some more in person as I am fortunate enough to be staying with Ross in a week or two.
It proves there are still so many sensible well adjusted people out there who have survived the concrete jungle and are anxiously seeking a taste of the real NZ..
Immediately after the top rating show on Saturday – “Along for the Ride” – TV1 at 7 pm – TRM received bookings from anglers we had never heard from before requiring urgent accommodation provided we could include a bike to access the Tongariro River pools as well. Even better!
TRM even have bookings confirmed providing a bike is available just to cruise around the beautiful Tongariro River Trails. Such smart tourists.
The show – Along For The Ride – was surprisingly seen by far more than expected considering it clashed with some cricket match somewhere…
The Tongariro River got less than three minutes of fame but that was enough to jog the memory of many – that biking the Tongariro River Trail needs to be right up there on their “must visit, must do” bucket list.
So this is a good opportunity to expand a little on the Tongariro River Trail benefits for more than just fishing.
Now that recreational biking is becoming so much more popular we have so many experiences of tourists who have not ridden a bike since school days to go tottering off on these purpose designed rental bikes for supposedly an hour and return 3-4 hours later absolutely fizzing.
They tell us that the TRT is such a pleasant trail with plenty of variety, two swing bridges to cross, spectacular views over the river, through mature native bush, alongside farmland, through the Trout Centre, just gently physically challenging enough with various options and achievable by anyone who can keep a bike vertical.
But most of all it is right there where they can easily access it from their holiday accommodation.
A few years ago TRM had great difficulty in locating good suitable reliable touring bikes with all the advantages – gears and suspension – of mountain bikes. Eventually we tracked down a firm who had been through a similar process needing bikes for tourists. I even had to travel to Otago (without a fishing rod) to test them for you.
They are “Trail Journeys” who have over 500 rental bikes for the Otago Rail Trail. When they could not find bikes to fit their specification they assembled their own. So as they have sorted out all the issues we buy their bikes second hand for the Tongariro River Trail.
TRM bikes – as shown on the TV show – have a much more upright riding position to enable the biker to sit up so they can enjoy the scenery.
TRM found all other mountain bikes were designed more for the rider to exert maximum pressure on the pedals by being hunched over, head down, bum up, racing style.
But the Tongariro River Trail is not designed for a bike race but rather as a more leisurely tourist trail (with anglers access…).
Other under-rated but still important little touches include wide comfy bouncy seats (tractor seats), wider ergonomically (?) shaped hand grips to make it more comfortable, wide pedals, low centre bar for anglers in waders to make it easier to get on and off, rear carriers with pannier bags, foot stands, and last of all, real genuine bike bells to warn walkers when a bike is approaching from their rear.
The bells issue has already been thrashed on TRM daily Reports. They have been both criticised by one local and applauded by over one hundred others, so TRM have to go with the flow that they are the best way of warning walkers of bikes approaching.
Quite a number of tourists and nature lovers (i.e. those who have not yet discovered how much easier it is to ride a bike) walk the TRT while tuned in (or out) to their iPod and can suffer a fright, when bikes sneak up on them or being passed by a bike, unless warned audibly beforehand. So bike bells are definitely in according to the TRT participants.
So bike bells should be compulsory on the TRT according to TRM’s exhaustive website based consumer studies. But I digress…
As touched on above, where the Tongariro River Trail scores so highly amongst so many tourists – compared to many other recently Government sponsored bike trails – is that it is within easy walking/biking distance of tourist accommodation.
Unlike all the other Taupo region bike trails it is on their door step. It is bikeable from their motel.
Accordingly it is easily available as pre-breakfast or pre-lunch or pre-dinner or any-time-of-the-day ride directly from their accommodation.
This location consideration factor is so important as this is what is so wrong with so many other bike trails that are quite spectacular in their own way but they are not where the tourists are. Most are beyond any population centres which, to Kiwi bikers, is part of their appeal. But for tourists their choice of location is all wrong.
Bike tracks should be planned and developed to cater for the greatest sustainable economic growth curve bubble which has not even started to be properly recognised yet. They are called “tourists”.
Perhaps we need to explain. Turangi is a little struggling regional village on SH1 about halfway to everywhere. But it is struggling to survive. Why? No jobs.
It has one industry. One hope for the future.
It is called tourism! (I know you thought I was going to suggest fishing?) Therefore any economic development should be concentrated on that one essential industry. The Tongariro River Trail aims directly at that potential and ticks all the boxes.
But it is so unfortunate that so much investment has already been misdirected into tourist (?) bike tracks in the back of beyond where tourists will never find them. Technically and scenically they may be great but they lead from nowhere to nowhere.
Bike trails for tourists have to be very close to the tourist centres. It is that fundamentally basic! How did the other bike trail planners and funders miss such an obvious requirement?
Which brings us on to the next BIG project…
Recently DOC (Department of Conservation) reviewed their previous review of their purported mismanagement of the Taupo Region – where they manage the fishery and most of the tracks and tourist trails etc.
Their consultants suggested the most critical problem to address immediately, to promote tourism (both local and international), is the lack of a connecting bike trail from Taupo to Turangi.
Had they been addressing the tourist demand, that should have been the first bike trail in the region.
Fortunately, at last, that is now being acknowledged.
The route, mainly alongside Lake Taupo, would soon become the most popular bike trail in New Zealand.
So watch this space…