In Tracks We Trust

The Newcastle Track

 

On Magazine meets the folk behind Wanaka’s spec-trackular trail network: the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust.

When it comes to tracks, cyclists and walkers in Wanaka are spoiled for choice. Along with local classics such as the Outlet Track, new trails have sprung up at an impressive rate recently, with the Hawea River Track from Albert Town to Hawea, the Upper Clutha Track to Luggate, the Gladstone Track at Hawea and the Glendhu Bay Track all completed in the past four years. By Christmas there will be one more.

The new tracks are all thanks to the Upper Clutha Tracks Trusts (UCTT), formed in 2006 as a local answer to the Wakatipu Trails Trust. The trust facilitates both the funding and construction of new trails, and they’re doing a fine job.

The Luggate Creek Bridge

“The concept was to create a community-led process for track building,” says UCTT Chairman Tim Dennis. He explains that a charitable trust, as opposed to DOC or Council, for example, can access multiple finding sources. More importantly, a trust is something locals can feel a part of.

Since its inception, the Trust has built more than 50 kms of track in the Wanaka area. This will soon grow by another 12 kms, with the Newcastle Track due to open in December. Starting from the Hawea Swing Bridge, this trail will offer an off-road loop between Albert Town to Luggate, up one bank of the Clutha and back along the other.

Not bad–just two years ago the only way to see this part of the Clutha was from a boat.

To help these guys keep making tracks, financial donations can be made online at www.uppercluthatrackstrust.org.nz.

Or, if you’d rather help in other ways, says Tim, contact the Trust directly. “We take everything from cattle stops to gravel. Every bit helps!”

 

WORDS: LAURA WILLIAMSON

PHOTOS: UCTT

 

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