(July 2022) An impact assessment report has shown the Lake2Lake Trail, from Te Anau to Manapouri, is worth millions of dollars to the local economy – and the Trust behind it believes there is potential for that to increase.

In early 2023 the Fiordland Trails Trust engaged Angus & Associates to produce an Impact Assessment Report to measure and demonstrate the economic (and other) impact of the Lake2Lake Trail; a multiuse trail which runs from Te Anau to Manapouri.

The assessment report showed that the estimated direct economic contribution of the Lake2Lake Trail in the year to March 2023 was $3.025 million.

Other key findings included

          A total of 5148 visitors to Fiordland in the year to March 2023 could be attributed to the Lake2Lake Trail

          These visitors collectively stayed more than 10,000 nights in the area and spent more than $1.8 million in total

          Events, which included the Meridian Hydro Half Marathon and Mitre 10 Te Anau 10k, and the Spring Challenge, contributed approximately $980,000 to the local economy

          Trail development and maintenance activities contributed an estimated $245,000 in direct economic contribution to the area

The report also notes a number of other benefits from the trail, including physical and mental health benefits, offering a low carbon tourist activity, and highlighted the accessibility of the trail; being suitable for cyclists, walkers, runners, dog walkers, pram pushers and mobility scooters amongst other transport modes.

It also showed most trail users were highly satisfied with their experience, with 82% of trail users rated their trail experience an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10.

Fiordland Trails Trust Chair David Boniface said the assessment positively highlighted the value of the Lake2Lake Trail and provided a strong endorsement for the Trust’s plans to extend the trail network in the area.

“Anecdotally, we were confident that the Lake2Lake Trail provided many and varied benefits to the area, but it is fantastic to see these reflected in this independent assessment which really highlights the benefits and potential of multiuse trails in general,” he said.

“As the Trust works to extend the trail network both in the short and long term, this assessment highlights the value of doing so. We believe as we continue to extend the trail network and to promote and showcase it, the value to the area will only increase.”

“It was also pleasing that the assessment highlighted benefits wider than economics, and showcased the health, social, and environmental benefits associated with the trail, too.” 

The report also gave a good insight into trail users, and showed just over half of trail users were in the 50-69 age group, just over half were visitors to Fiordland and that 59% of users used the trail for biking.

The full report can be viewed here