27 Jun 2019

Picton to Kaikōura 'Whale Trail' gets government funding

2:43 pm on 27 June 2019

A 200km cycle and walking trail from Picton to Kaikōura has been given more than $300,000 in government funding.

Looking towards Kaikoura ranges.

The coastline near Kaikōura Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The newly-named Whale Trail pays homage to the history and presence of whales in the area.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said $322,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund would go towards a technical study of the trail's route.

The trail will connect Picton, Blenheim, Seddon, Ward, Kekerengu, Clarence and Kaikōura.

Marlborough District Council expected the trail to bring economic opportunities the communities along the route, some of which are still recovering from 2016 Kaikōura earthquake

It said the name was a nod to the success of the whale watching industry in Kaikōura and the historic importance of whaling in the Marlborough Sounds. It also mirrored the whales' migratory path down the South Island's East Coast.

"Our vision is a world-class cycle trail that offers exceptional recreational experiences while providing wide-ranging and long-lasting benefits for our communities," Marlborough Kaikōura Trail Trust chair Luke van Velthooven, said in a statement.

Last year district council gave $50,000 to fund an initial study, which estimated a trail from Picton to Kaikōura could add more than $100 million to the Marlborough economy over the next 20 years.