Welcome Rock Trails

Welcome Rock Trails is located on a high country sheep station just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand in an area called Northern Southland. The trail officially opens to the public on 8 December 2014.

Welcome Rock Trails. Photo: Venture Southland
Welcome Rock Trails is a single track, 27km loop, grade 3 (intermediate), cross country mountain bike / hiking trail, hand built on one of New Zealand’s longest water races. 

About Welcome Rock Trails
Welcome Rock Trails takes its name from the prominent rock that sits on the skyline above the homestead. The rock was named by the early settlers who used the landmark as a meeting and trading point.
 
Welcome Rock Trails started in 2012 when the concept was conceived of a trail system through Blackmore Station following the old gold miners’ water races. Tom turned the first sod of earth on Tuesday 13 June 2013. We worked hard, hand building the trail much like the gold miners of yesteryear using picks and shovels. 
 
Jonathan Kennett of the Kennett Brothers, New Zealand’s leading publisher of cycling history and guide books, graded the trail and says “Welcome Rock Trails is the finest water race trail in New Zealand. I think Welcome Rock Trails has the potential to be one of the best new rides in the country – great scenery, easy gradients, place to stay the night, history, etc. Welcome Rock is unique, authentic, stunning and exciting. It has the potential to be a world-class trail that connects people with the real New Zealand –  real history, real ecosystems, a real farming family and real enthusiasm.”
 
Welcome Rock Trails will be officially open to the public on the 8 December 2014. For booking information and more details about riding/walking the trail, bike hire, transport and accommodation visit www.welcomerock.co.nz / trails@welcomerock.co.nz
 
Blackmore Station
We are a fourth generation farming family who have owned Blackmore Station since 1911. Welcome Rock Trails is run by myself (Tom O’Brien) and my wife Katie.
 
When I was a young boy my mother and father had the wisdom to retire one thousand hectares (being half the farm) into a conservation covenant. Their vision was to preserve the high country allowing it to regenerate and share this with others.
 
As a family we wanted to fulfill our forefather’s vision without affecting the peacefulness of the reserve. We decided that low impact recreation such as hiking and biking would best fit this vision and allow people to explore the high country at their leisure. We wanted to be sympathetic to the landscape, sensitive to the historic and ecological features and mirror the techniques of the water race builders over a hundred years ago.
 
Today our dream is being realised, where the land is regenerating to its pre-settlement beauty as visitors enjoy this sanctuary for how it was.
 
Opening Weekend Event Details
To celebrate the opening of Welcome Rock Trails an open day/weekend will be held from 6-7 December 2014. 
When: Saturday 6 December – 7 December 2014, 10.00am
Where: Historic Southland Ski Hut
Nevis Road, Garston (near Queenstown)
Bookings essential via trails@welcomerock.co.nz as numbers are limited