Spooners Tunnel Grand Opening

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Spooners Tunnel

This Sunday 17 April, Spooners Tunnel will become the newest section of the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail to be unveiled. A railway tunnel left unused for 60 years opened up to cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

At 1.35km, it will be the Southern Hemisphere’s longest tunnel used exclusively by cyclists and walkers.

It’s apparently dark and cold, and all one straight line, so if you cycle south to north, the gentle downward slope will allow you to freewheel the entire distance.

Spooner’s Tunnel is in Belgrove, south-west of Nelson. Opened in 1893, the tunnel was dug by hand with two groups of men working to meet in the middle.
It was originally intended to connect Nelson to the West Coast, but it only got to Gowanbridge before the Government of that time pulled the pin. Despite significant protest which reached world news, in 1955, the tracks were pulled up and the tunnel boarded up.

Keen cyclists and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to be among the first to experience the journey through Spooners Tunnel at its opening on Sunday. The official opening of the tunnel will take place at 11am with a blessing, followed by a ride or walk through the tunnel.

Those wishing to participate are invited to park at the Belgrove Tavern on State Highway 6 (Wakefield-Kohatu Highway) and take one of the shuttles that will be on hand to transport people and bikes to the Tapawera end of the tunnel. Shuttles will run from 10am. Please remember the tunnel is not lit, so bike lights and a torch are essential.

This could just be the perfect school holiday experience and it’s free.