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Ready and waiting . . . Bill May encourages people to make use of the new walkway established alongside the Idaburn Stream from Hills Creek Rd to Hannah's Cafe at Hayes Engineering. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz

Central Otago is home to a new walkway giving visitors and locals another opportunity to get off the beaten track.

The walkway, which follows the Idaburn Stream from Hills Creek Rd to Hannah’s Cafe at Hayes Engineering, will be officially opened on February 6.

A range of Oturehua residents have helped create the 2.5km walkway, which has been taking shape over the past six months.

Among them was Graeme Male.

The idea was shared with him while he was tidying up the Oturehua domain last year.

“One day as I was doing this, Hilary Calvert, living directly opposite the domain, asked what I was up to and then shared with me a dream that she and Alistair Broad have had to have a walkway along the river,” Mr Male said.

“I realised that if that ever happened, then the domain would be a significant way-point on a river walk loop, and so many more people than just the locals were . . . likely to enjoy a much improved domain.”

He hoped the walkway, which runs through a range of properties, would become a destination, like the Golden Progress Mine has.

“For cyclists, the Golden Progress Mine is a huge drawcard, and I see how the river walk may become the same – the ‘thing to do’ when stopping in, or travelling through, Oturehua.”

The walkway provides a touring loop of Oturehua village, which can be cycled, walked or run.

It has become a third avenue through Oturehua, Mr Male said.

“I believe that creating and maintaining the river walk will be popular with all locals, as the effect will always be the enhancement of where we live, furthering the pride we already have in our village and the Ida Valley in general.”

Oturehua resident Bill May, who has also assisted with the community-funded project, agreed that the walkway would be an asset to the town – for both residents and visitors.

He encourages people to join in the opening celebrations on February 6.

The event will coincide with the town’s annual Waitangi Day walk, which will start at the Oturehua Domain at 3.30pm.

It will finish with a barbecue at the domain, which anyone can take part in by bringing their own food and drink.