Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tawa and Plimmerton

It is amazing how many really good days we’ve had this winter. When we started on this cycling craze of ours, we thought that we might not be able to do many rides because of winter weather. But that has not eventuated.

We lucky Wellingtonians had another lovely day yesterday. Actually, I woke up with a raging throat and a cough that seemed to be coming from depths that I didn’t know I had. I chickened out of going to the gym, but the day was too nice to sit around inside and mope. So we went for a little easy-peasy ride. In fact we ended up doing two easy-peasy rides.

We discovered recently that a new track had been created in Tawa. It is part of a new shared walkway and cycle route, that will eventually go from Tawa to Porirua. So far only the section between Redwood Station and Linden Park has been completed. It is only about 4kms long, and I thought it would do me nicely, since I was feeling a bit under the weather.

We parked at Redwood station, and first we explored going south, to see how far we could go. Not very far, actually, as there is work going on to extend the track as far as Willowbank Park, near the entrance to Tawa from SH1.

The Tawa Track, looking south from Redwood Station (photo by John)

There is a bit of road that goes past a badminton hall, and it's obvious that work is going on to prepare the track. We turned around when the way was blocked by a council truck. We will have to come back when all the work is completed.

Signs of activity on the track (photo by John)

So off we went in a northerly direction. The track follows the eastern side of the railway line until Tawa Station, then it goes up onto Duncan Street, where the footpath has been widened to accommodate cyclists.

At first, the track runs along the railway line
Along Duncan Street, the footpath has been widened (photo by John)

Near Tawa College the track crosses the railway line. A nice safe crossing, with warnings to watch for trains. We found out on our way back that a barrier swings across the path when a train comes along.

Grasslees Reserve (photo by John)

The Porirua Stream, seen from the bridge by the Tawa Pool

Past the Tawa Pool and the Grasslees Reserve, and then through suburban streets until we arrived at the Linden Park sportsground, where the track ran out. Here we turned around, and returned to the car. We had done 8.5kms.

By this time, with the sun on our backs, I was feeling OK. Eight-and-a-half kilometres didn’t seem like a long enough ride, so we decided to do the Plimmerton-Karehana Bay waterfront as well. But first we wanted lunch.

We stopped at “Ruby’s” – a nice café with a sunny courtyard in Paremata that I had recently been introduced to by a friend – and had a very satisfying lunch (always nice to have a good lunch out, it means I don’t have to cook at night – cooking is not my favourite activity, it’s such drudgery…).

Off to Plimmerton, where we parked on Steyne Ave. The tide was out, and John took some nice photos of Plimmerton Beach, Mana Island and the South Island in the distance.

The beach at Plimmerton has a shallow tidal platform (photo by John)

The ride along Moana Road is always a pleasant one, and more of the rocks were exposed than the last time we cycled here.

The rocks at Karehana Bay, with Mana Island in the background, and the South Island in the distance (photo by John)

This time we rode on towards the Hongoeka Marae. I had been told that the sign saying “No access - Private Road” applied to cars only, and that walkers and cyclists were OK. Although the road continued on beyond the Marae, it became a gravel surface, and it was in the shade of the hill, so we called it a day there. It is actually possible to walk around the point to Pukerua Bay (tide permitting, I believe), but I’m not terribly likely to want to do that.

The track goes around the point to end up at Pukerua Bay – eventually (photo by John)

Mana Island, and the South Island in the distance (photo by John)

A palisade on Hongoeka Marae land

Despite feeling a bit “off” in the morning, going for a ride felt good. Now, as I am writing this up, my cough is again playing havoc with my chest and throat, but I daresay, I will survive.

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