Rutting deers oust bikers


Horny stags have changed the route of the South Island’s biggest cycle event - but another will run in its place.

Queenstown’s Tour de Wakatipu usually sees 400 elite, sport and recreational riders wind 45km from Millbrook Resort to Chard Farm in late March.

Organiser Geoff Hunt confirms there will be a course change this year though.

Porter Group Ltd bought Queenstown Park Station, part of the course next to the Kawarau River, for just over $8 million in 2014.

It’s moved deer on to the land, and the tour clashes with the mating season.

Porter Group Ltd has also announced a 14km community mountain bike ride through the station this Saturday - with 150 people already signed up.

But Hunt’s not too concerned at his event being ousted.

“It’s his [Porter Group chairman Alastair Porter’s] property and he can do what he likes with it.

“He’s already said next year, in a different time frame, the Tour de Wakatipu’s no problem, it can go through.”

Hunt hopes next year there won’t be the other ride.

“Part of the tour’s attraction is we had exclusive access rights.

“So this year’s fine but I would hope in future when we’re using that side of the countryside there won’t be a recreational ride a few weeks before.”

Hunt’s tour will go ahead at Easter weekend, on March 26.

He says a route through ‘new’ countryside is signed off but has not yet released details.

In November, Porter announced plans for a $50m gondola from Remarkables Park through the 1826-hectare station and up to The Remarkables skifield.

Saturday’s ride is in one direction.

Riders are invited to start between 10am and 11.30am at Boyd Road, 2.2km south of Kawarau Falls Bridge, and ride to Chard Farm, Gibbston.

Registrations close tomorrow at 3pm.