The $3.2m Timber Trail Lodge being built in the King Country’s Pureora Forest Park is on track to open next month.
From 12 April the first wing of the building will be open, providing for 25 guests, followed by a second wing with a further 25 beds scheduled to become available in October.
The lodge will be officially opened by Barbara Kuriger, MP for Taranaki-King Country, on 7 April.
The accommodation is situated at Piropiro – the halfway point of the 84km two-day mountain bike trail, which in 2016 was cycled by an estimated 6,000 people.
It will be the only on-trail accommodation on the route and has been delivered through private and public funding, including a $1.2m grant from the Tourism Growth Partnership (TGP) that was received early last year.
The group of King Country locals that bought the five-year project forward have also invested, along with around 20 other Kiwis, both locals and from further afield.
Bruce Maunsell, director and operations manager, said: “Securing the TGP grant was a significant achievement and one which signalled confidence in our vision and plans for the business. It underlines the Government’s commitment to cycling tourism and its determination to enable the Timber Trail to reach its potential.”
The three other directors who set up an oversee the lodge operation include Te Kuiti businessman and deputy mayor of the Waitomo District, Guy Whitaker, nature and adventure tourism consultant, Dave Bamford, and Wellington-based businessman Jeremy Ward.
The lodge has been built to an environmentally sensitive design, including an off-grid power system, which is planned to be running off 95% solar within the first three years.
Its systems include biodynamic waste water treatments providing cleansed water to fertilise plants or process through toilet cisterns.
Lodge staff, and willing visitors, will be involved in local initiatives to replant areas of forestry, control weeds and pests, and protect the native Department of Conservation-managed podocarp forest.
Maunsell said the lodge will provide an authentic kiwi welcome at the end of the day to visitors out enjoying the trail and other local activities.
“We’re adding comfort to their adventure,” he said. “The lodge is a very special place and our multi-skilled staff will ensure visitors receive a high level of customer service and leave feeling connected to the area, its values, and others that they shared the experience with.”
The lodge is open year-round and “is already attracting interest and bookings from NZ and around the world, groups looking for corporate retreats, outdoor education locations, and venues for special interest weekends”.
The Pureora Timber Trail opened in 2013 and is part of Te Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail. It is one of 22 Great Rides that make up the network through New Zealand.