INDEPENDENT NEWS

Taumarunui on the Te Araroa Trail

Published: Mon 15 Feb 2016 10:56 AM
Taumarunui on the Te Araroa Trail
No local could have failed to notice that tourist numbers in Ruapehu are booming with many of these visitors finding their way to Taumarunui.
While many come for fantastic new tourism products such as the Forgotten World Adventures self-driven rail carts on the old Ohura-Stratford rail line, or to canoe the Whanganui River, some are here as part of walking the world renowned 3,000km Te Araroa Trail which runs the length of NZ from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
Formally opened in 2011 the Te Araroa Trail has been described by National Geographic as “one of the best long walks on the planet”, and just last year CNN listed Te Araroa as one of the world’s top 10 long trails, along with the 3500km Appalachian Trail and the 6200km Sentiero in Italy.
Ruapehu councillor and chairperson of the Taumarunui-Ohura Ward Committee Graeme Cosford who is also a life-long tramper himself said that he cannot recall such an influx of visitors coming through Taumarunui.
“As a keen tramper and outdoor enthusiast myself I make a point of having a chat with as many of these walkers as I can when I see them in town.”
“You can’t miss them with their backpacks laden down with food, camping and other and outdoor gear,” he said.
“Many of them are spending time in Taumarunui resting after about 40 to 50 days on the trail before tackling the 42 Traverse and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, with some then returning this way to canoe the Whanganui River which all form part of the Trail.”
“The range of nationalities is huge with people coming from all around the world to walk the trail or sections of it.”
Councillor Cosford said that small towns like Taumarunui stand to benefit from the growing number of Te Araroa walkers and the economic benefits they bring.
“While we have large numbers of walkers doing popular sections of the trail such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing we need to capitalise on the opportunity to encourage more of these people to expand their horizons a bit and spend more time in Ruapehu and see what Taumarunui and our other townships have to offer.”
“Anyone who has travelled overseas can attest that meeting with the locals is often the most rewarding and memorable part of the trip.”
“I would encourage everyone to say hi to these visitors if the get a chance and even offer them some hospitality if at all possible and help to build Taumarunui’s reputation as a friendly, welcoming town.”
“Recognition by international media such as National Geographic and CNN highlights that we have a world class asset running through our district that will only continue to grow in popularity.”
“We can all help to champion Taumarunui and our place on the Te Araroa Trail.”
ENDS

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