The Wellington branch of Te Araroa Trust has been nominated among the 2017 Walking Access Champion award winners for its work creating the popular Paekākāariki-Pukerua Bay Escarpment Track on the Kāpiti Coast, which opened in April 2016.
Many plaudits have been given for its quality and the outstanding views and experience on offer. Estimates are that some 60,000 people will walk this track in its first year.
This track was complex to arrange, involving negotiations with private landholders, Kiwirail, and NZTA meaning arrangements needed to be made to fit with farm, rail and traffic considerations. The all-volunteer trust can be rightly proud of their achievement, which now forms a link in the national Te Araroa Trail, enhancing access to the outdoors for New Zealanders and overseas visitors.
As well as the recreational and public health benefits of the track, a significant and positive impact has also been felt by Paekākāariki businesses, where cafes, the bar and the local store have all seen a rise in patronage of walkers seeking refreshment at the end of their journey.