Wooing Tree Walkway Open

New Cromwell underpass a gamechanger for safety and access

When Steve and Thea Farquharson first established Wooing Tree Wines 20 years ago, they seriously considered building a home on the vineyard, across State Highway 8B from Cromwell township.

But at peak traffic times it was simply too dangerous to cross the highway by bike, on foot or even sometimes in a car, and the couple decided instead to buy a home inside the township.

On Friday 25 August the Farquharson’s officially opened Wooing Tree Walkway a new pedestrian and cycle underpass below SH 8B connecting the Cromwell township and Wooing Tree Estate. For the Farquharson’s there’s immense satisfaction in delivering this new asset to the Cromwell community. 

“An underpass has always been a core part of our vision for the neighbourhood. We knew that being able to walk or bike under State Highway 8B would be a gamechanger for Cromwell residents and visitors. It immediately makes everything so much safer and more accessible,” says Steve Farquharson.

The construction of both the new SH 8B roundabout outside the Wooing Tree Estate entrance and the underpass have currently been funded by the Farquharson’s and their development partners, an investment of over $4.4m.

Goldfields Primary School Principal, Anna Harrison agrees the underpass will make a big difference to the growing number of families living across SH 8.

“It is huge in terms of safety for our children. They’ll be able to come through the big fruit reserve and access the rest of town and once they’re old enough they’ll be able to do it on their own.”

Cromwell Rowing Club coach, Maude O’Connell is equally excited about what it will mean for her high school aged rowers, and their parents.

“I think we’ll definitely see more biking to the lake instead of relying on Mum or Dad for a ride. And that is going to be great for their fitness and their independence.”

One of the driving forces behind the Lake Dunstan Trail, Janeen Wood, predicts the new underpass will result in an increase in bike visitors to Cromwell township.

Wood, who is now the CE of the Central Otago Queenstown Trails Network Trust says once the connections through the Kawarau Gorge and from Cromwell to Wanaka are complete in 2025 and 2026, Cromwell will become the hub for 550km network of bike trails.

There has been an average of 5000 cyclists on the Lake Dunstan Trail each month so far in 2023, peaking over 9000 in January and March.

“The Underpass means cyclists can come straight from the lake through Wooing Tree Estate and into Cromwell township. Ultimately it will also mean that some people will begin their off-road biking trip safely from the township.”

Steve and Thea Farquharson cutting the ribbon at ceremony.

Cromwell Golf Club membership has doubled in the past four years to over 620 golfers. President Bob Scott believes the course’s location in the centre of town is a major part of the attraction and the addition of an underpass could see membership grow further. 

“A lot of the people moving into Wooing Tree Estate will be attracted to move there because of the proximity of the golf course. The underpass going in makes it much easier for them to get to the course for a round of a bit of practice.”

The Wooing Tree Walkway connects to the neighbourhood’s greenway network with over 1000 metres of pathways developed exclusively for cyclists and pedestrians. The greenway, the parkland surrounding the historic Wooing Tree, and the vineyard buffer zone around the Estate comprise over 3 hectares, which is 15% of the neighbourhood’s total land area.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan says the 2018 Cromwell Masterplan made it clear that the connectivity that the greenways in the main part of Cromwell provide are really important to people.

“The new underpass is a great addition to the greenway infrastructure of Cromwell.”

Over the next two years the Farquharson’s former vineyard will continue to be transformed into a neighbourhood among the vines, with over a hectare of the original Wooing Tree grapes growing on a buffer zone alongside State Highway 8B. A new Wooing Tree cellar door and restaurant at the entrance to the Estate is currently under construction and due to open in Summer 2024.

There was also good news for parents of young children in early August, with Childcare education provider BestStart receiving Ministry of Education approval to open a new purpose-built centre for up to 82 pre-schoolers at the entrance to Wooing Tree Estate. 

Development manager, Stephen Cornwall says by completion in 2025 there will up 390 homes and up to 800 residents at Wooing Tree Estate.

“We have over 100 homes built or currently being built, and we’re working hard to complete the remaining roading and greenway network to help connect the new neighbourhood for visitors and new residents.”

Check out the sections available for you to build your new home in this idyllic spot, or contact our sales team to learn more.

Wooing Tree Icon

Discover Cromwell

Cromwell is situated amongst prestige vineyards and cycling country. 

Get in touch today