The Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, which is Northland’s first dedicated mountain bike park, is on track to attract 25,000 riders this year and has so far created 29 jobs.
Project manager Tiffany Holland said visitor numbers had gone up 50 per cent since a trail hub opened earlier this year with a cafe, bike hire shop and office in shipping containers at the park's Bayly Rd entrance.
The hub was built with a $490,000 grant from the Provincial Growth Fund and last Friday the Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones paid a visit to the bike park to witness the business’ transformation himself.
Ms. Holland told the Minister that PGF money left over from the hub was being used to build a new track from Waitangi Golf Course to Wairoa Bay, opposite the park entrance, to encourage people to cycle to the park from Paihia.
By the time all the PGF funding had been used the total spend on the park would be $2.3 million, most of which had come from grants.
The majority of riders were from Auckland, who boosted the Bay of Islands economy by renting accommodation, eating out and trying other activities.
About 16,000 people used the park in 2018, a number expected to hit 25,000 this year.
Minister Jones said the PGF grant to the park had given "tremendous" value for money.
''They've turned an unloved landscape into high value recreation. I love forestry – it just never would have occurred to me that in a plantation forest, in our most revered area in the North, we could create such experience and value.''