Kawatiri Coastal Trail begins construction

Published: Jun 26, 2020

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  • Top of the South/Te Tau Ihu

Construction work is set to begin on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail with the appointment of local contractor, Westreef Services Ltd now confirmed.

Three smiling men standing around a Provincial Growth Fund pull-down banner.

Charleston Westport Coastal Trail Trust chair Richard Niederer, Kawatiri Coastal Trust project manager Bob Dickson and Parliamentary Under Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau in Westport.

The project will employ over 30 local people in construction, project management, design, engineering, ecology and archaeology.

Around 18 construction workers will begin work on a 5.5 km section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail from Westport to Carters Beach which they expect to have open before Christmas. 

The idea for the Kawatiri Coastal Trail began back in 2015 when a group of visionary Charleston residents started to scratch out a new tourist attraction by building a shingle track between Rotten Row and Nile Bridge in the South Island’s Buller District.

The creation of the family-friendly heritage cycle and walk trail is in full development and makes the most of the West Coast’s unique surroundings. The trail winds its way through gold rush heritage sites, areas of high significance to Ngāti Waewae to highlight the region’s rich history.

Charleston-Westport Coastal Trail Trust chairman Richard Niederer said he was pleased a local company would be building the first 5.5km of the trail connecting Westport to Carters Beach.

“The trust is absolutely thrilled that we are finally starting construction of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail, after about five years since we started planning this.”

The trail will play an important role in attracting visitors and achieving the Trust’s goal of making the Kawatiri Coastal Trail the jewel in the crown of West Coast’s new tourism attractions.

The trail is built to New Zealand Cycle Trail Grade 2 safety standards so a broad range of users will be able to access the trail with multiple entrance and exit points along the way so communities along it can provide hospitality and tourist offerings.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the wild coastal views combined with unique geology and landforms such as the Cape Foulwind headland while observing the exceptional ecological diversity.

The trail will provide visitor access to a huge variety of flora and fauna including the Kahikatea forest, pristine wetlands and wildlife such as Kiwi, weka, fernbirds living in their natural habitat.

The entire 55km trail which will extend from Westport to Charleston, is expected to be open for local, domestic and international users by 2022.

A body of calm water surrounded by greenery during the day.

Martins Creek bridge site on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail.