Spooners Tunnel Update
Updated 21 April 2019
The next section of the Great Taste Trail Rail Route is nearly completed. This is the section from Wakefield to Belgrove then through the Spooners Tunnel and on to Kohatu. A short section of this route (through the Spooners Tunnel) has been open for cycling for some time, but has not been connected to the existing Great Taste Trail Rail Route. The new development will mean that cyclists can start from Nelson and ride all the way to the tunnel, which is the longest dis-used rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere.
Here is the latest update on the progress of this trail development:
As of April 2019, the first 3.4 km leg of the section of trail from Wakefield to Belgrove is not constructed. As a result, cyclists need to ride on side of the state highway here. There is a small shoulder on the side of this highway. The next section consists of a new 1.6 km stretch that runs along the side of the state highway and the highway has been widened to allow for the cycle lane. The cycle lane is separated from the road by a double white line. The third and final leg of this section from Wai Iti to Belgrove is completed and is off-road. The route from Wakefield to Belgrove is 9.5 km and is easy riding and flat most of the way.
Upon reaching Belgrove the trail through the tunnel to Norris Gully carpark was completed in 2018. It is a slow steady climb from Belgrove, following the original railway line grade. The Belgrove Tunnel is a dis-used rail tunnel 1.4 km long and is TOTALLY DARK so lights are essential. The Norris Gully carpark is located next to the state highway at the southern end of the tunnel. It is 8 km from Belgrove to this carpark.
The leg from the Norris Gully carpark to Kohatu is now completed. It is an easy grade, and includes riding on the historic railway embankment for some of the way to Kohatu. View an interactive map here.