Two Route Options Considered for Coastal Walkway Extension

16 June 2017

Planning has begun on potentially extending the Coastal Walkway from Bell Block to Waitara and two options for the route are being considered.

One option is to go inland, possibly through newly rezoned residential land in Bell Block, and develop side-paths along streams down to the coast. 

The second and harder option would be a potential coastal route. “We could create the walkway beside the sea but we would have to factor in coastal erosion, protecting numerous historical sites and consider airport security,” says Councillor Mike Merrick.

Whichever route is eventually chosen as the favoured option, the extension would enable NPDC to tell the region’s story at important sites along the pathway while preserving areas that are important to iwi and hapu. The area has a rich history as the rohe of the Puketapu hapu and is believed to be the first area settled by Maori on this coast.

“Extending the walkway would bring visitors to Waitara’s West Beach and Marine Park and link it to the Waitara River walkway,” says Councillor Colin Johnston.

“The extension would bring more visitors to the town, support tourism growth and be an opportunity to tell more of our unique history. It would connect Waitara to the proposed Taranaki Traverse route, up the Waiwhakaiho River to Egmont National Park.”

The walkway is currently 12.7km long. Depending on the chosen route, the proposed extension could increase the Coastal Walkway to 20km.

“Imagine waking up in Waitara and cycling an eco-friendly and safe route to work in the city; free of cars, buses and trucks,” says Councillor Marie Pearce. 

“You could stop in at New Plymouth Airport along the way for a bite to eat and a cuppa while watching the planes. 

“Our award-winning Coastal Walkway is a great feat of imagination. Who would have imagined 20 years ago that we would have one of New Zealand’s best coastal attractions?”

The proposal to extend the Coastal Walkway to Waitara is open for public comment through the Council’s proposed 10 Focus Areas discussion. The public are asked to share their thoughts on the proposal by filling in a survey form at newplymouthnz.com/Top10 – all participants will go in the draw to win an iPad.