Wairarapa Five Towns Trail Network

October 2021

The South Wairarapa District Council is supporting an ambitious plan to create a network of trails connecting Wairarapa’s five towns.

The Wairarapa Five Towns Trail Network’s master plan was released in October and is available on its website: www.fivetownstrail.co.nz.

Its aim is to develop almost 200km of recreational trails for walking and cycling, linking Martinborough, Featherston, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton.

The goal is to grow community wealth through outstanding trail-based experiences, and improve the liveability and health outcomes of residents and visitors.

Development of the network is expected to generate millions of dollars a year from visitors travelling to Wairarapa to access the trails.

The Wairarapa Five Towns Trail Network aligns with the Wellington Regional Trails Framework, and the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy, and was developed from a concept conceived by the Trust to connect Wairarapa’s towns.

The project is now being led by Wairarapa Trails Action Group (WTAG).

WTAG members include South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton District Councils, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Destination Wairarapa, and a number of Wairarapa-based trails trusts.

WTAG Chair and Carton Mayor Greg Lang said development of the master plan was an important first step in making the network a reality.

“The routes in the master plan are indicative, not precise blueprints for the trails network, but the master plan enables the start of conversations with landowners and communities, and provides a level of detail that will facilitate applications for the external funding that will pay for the bulk of this work over the next 10 years or more.

“The ‘shovel ready’ funding for the Tauherenikau walking and cycle bridge is an example of how trails can be funded without putting a burden on ratepayers.”

A suspension bridge linking the proposed Featherston and Greytown trails has already received $1.3 million in funding as part of the Government’s  package of Covid-19 recovery measures.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said construction of the new walking and cycle bridge over the Tauherenikau River showed what was possible.

“This is a major project that is likely to take 10 years or more to complete, but the bridge project is a great start. And by accessing external funding, using the master plan, it can be a win-win for ratepayers and residents.”

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