To maximize the tourism potential in Turangi
Tonight – Thursday evening – Turangi tourist operators have a special meeting to discuss and promote Turangi. So this is for them.
The agenda is to maximize the tourism potential in our district. Based on feedback from tourists, TRM believe the first priority should be the completion of the bike trail following SH1 along the edge of the lake to link Turangi with “Toe-paw” (aka Taupo) .
Last Sunday 9 September TV1 featured the bike trails around Toe-paw. As usual the Tongariro River Trail (TRT) always misses out on any Toe-paw Bike Trails promotions.
(SWMBO took careful notice how the TV commentators attempted Maori pronunciation for Toe-paw – aka Taupo – so TRM will try to be PC for Maori language week. But She does wonder why Otago and Ohaupo and Owhango are pronounced “o” instead of “aw”?)
As expected, for any bike trails promotions on Toe-paw, there was no mention of the Tongariro River Trail.
So often the popular tourist bike trails along the Tongariro River at the southern end of the lake are ignored by Toe-paw Council and Bike Taupo as they organised and developed their own bike trails such as the W2K, Kawakawa Bay Trail and in particular featured the remote Waihaha Trail.
The TV 1 programme provided background history of the enthusiastic community spirit that developed the W2K bike trail. Wonderful effort, but…
As they were planned for a bike club, naturally the Toe-paw tracks are far more physically challenging – designed for enthusiastic fit club members in more remote locations, whilst the Government initiative and funding was supposed to be directed at more leisurely scenic tourist friendly trails – see image above on left – like the TRT.
Meanwhile Turangi has been waiting for the last decade for a bike trail to link with Toe-paw. Had they really been reacting to demand from tourists, this should have been first on their priority list, but keeps on being ignored…
Turangi has been waiting on Council to make any funding applications for many years, since providing a dvd to the previous Mayor (Rick Cooper) in 2009. Since then other bike trails have been conceived and built and are so successful they are now being extended (see Hauraki Trail and Timber Trails below)….
In 2016 Toe-paw tried to show some concern by approving Turangi’s “Feasibility Study” ($25,000) for the proposed route of the Toe-paw to Turangi (aka “T2T”) along the eastern edge of the lake following SH1.
This ‘independent’ (?) T2T report confirmed the route ticked all the boxes for a successful bike trail but then priced it out of contention by specifying a ridiculous 2.5 m width with a board walk for much of the 42 km distance. Total over-kill.
Strange? But not so strange when we discovered the appointed author was once a Toe-paw planner and chairman of their Bike Club. So much for an independent assessment?.
Then in September 2017 another report ($55,000) on Turangi’s economic future was commissioned – the Turangi Economic Development Strategy. This report prattled on about all the statistical historic data and profile of Turangi without once mentioning the demand or need for a bike trail… until it reached the final recommendations. Then on Page 58 the first major recommended action, appropriately described as “transformational”, was the T2T Bike Trail.
Unfortunately in either report there was no meaningful analysis to confirm the huge success of other bike trails and other benefits to towns on route – such as on the Hauraki Trail. It is a pity there was no cost comparison of similar trails such as the last stage of the Waikato River Trail from Mangakino where a similar 42 km trail cost $3 Million, or comparison to the remote Timber Trail which cost $6 Million for 84 km – twice the length of the T2T. Their success is proven – for both the Hauraki Trail and the Timber Trail they have had to develop new tourist accommodation to cope with the demand.
That is why TRM have had to regularly post our own bike trail update as a reminder as Turangi continues to be neglected in favour of Toe-paw.
The T2T bike trail should also extend further south following the Tongariro River to link with existing DOC trails such as Pillars of Hercules to Tree Trunk Gorge and eventually link with the Waihohonu Track across to Whakapapa.
If the aim of the meeting is “to maximize the tourism potential in our district” then the second priority should be to reopen the Turangi museum, with the third priority to open the only underground power station in the North Island. These have featured on TRM’s annual Christmas “wish-list” for far too long.
Below are short videos of the “Tongariro River Trail” plus “Tourist Attractions in Turangi” which explains the main reason tourists visit Turangi – in case they have forgotten…