Monday, 24 March 2014

Paremata to Pauatahanui

On Friday 21 March we went for a short-ish ride from Paremata to Pauatahanui and back, just 16 kms. It was fine, with a light cool breeze. We parked the car in the Ngati Toa Domain in Paremata and after crossing the Esplanade, we were soon on the Camborne Walkway. The Walkway is fairly narrow, as it winds its way in and out of little bays around the Pauatahanui Inlet. The surface is gravel, and not very level. It is high in the centre, then slopes off to the sides. As I was biking along I thought back to when I first started biking again, a year ago, and realised that I would have found this path fairly hair-raising back then. I now get satisfaction from being able to negotiate this kind of track reasonably well.

The Camborne Walkway track tends to slope away from the centre in many places (photo by John)

When we reached the end of the walkway, we found that the carpark was full of cars, but there were no people to be seen anywhere, nor is there a hall nearby where people might have congregated. A bit of a mystery. Where were all the people?

Then it was a few kilometres on Grays Road, with a fair amount of traffic passing us. John decided that the cars were passing us a bit too close for comfort, so he told me to go ahead, and he would follow me, after he had turned on his flashing rear light, thus hopefully making us a bit more visible.

We took a right turn into Motukaraka Point where the road is smooth and not busy. Very nice. Right near the entrance is a magnificent tree, which stands out against the blue sky. Just as I was thinking we should take a picture, John stopped and photographed it. We often notice the same sorts of things. I guess after more than 40 years of marriage, you get that way …

A magnificent tree at Motukaraka Point (photo by John)

The tide was in this time, so the birdlife was a little closer in, and we spotted a group of quite large birds in the distance. They didn’t look like herons – they are more gray than white – and I thought they looked more like storks. Then I noticed their long black bills, and I realised they were spoonbills. It was a pity we didn’t have any binoculars with us, it would have been interesting to have a closer look.

A group of royal spoonbills (photo by John)

As we reached the end of the boardwalk, we found that the roadworking machinery that had been there last time we were here, was still there. It appears that they are building bridge supports for the boardwalk – only one side done so far ...

Building a bridge support (photo by John)

Even though we had only ridden about 6 kms, we stopped at the “Groundup” café in Pauatahanui Village for a coffee, and some delectable almond pastries.

We thought we would see what the road towards the Paekakariki Hill was like. From having driven this road, we remembered that it should go for some distance before the road starts to climb. We rode for about half a kilometre, but then there was no shoulder for us to ride on – too hazardous, we thought – so we turned around and headed back to Paremata.

Taking a breather along the Camborne Walkway

Back at the Camborne Walkway, the carpark was still full, and still no people anywhere. But as we were riding along, all of a sudden we encountered a long, long line of children with teachers and parents, some with pushchairs. We stepped off our bikes to let them go past, and one of the teachers at the head of the queue said “It will be a while, there’s 150 of them!”. We should have stayed on the bench we had been sitting on just a minute or two earlier.

Well, that solved the mystery of the full carpark. They had been on an excursion to the Ngati Toa Domain – quite a hike for little legs!

We had to make way for 150 five-to-seven-year-olds plus teachers and parents
on the Camborne Walkway

Behind the boat sheds. This is where old kayaks go to die … (photo by John)

Instead of crossing the Esplanade at the traffic lights, we rode along towards the Paremata Bridge, and went down to the underpass. With the tide still high, there were several groups of people fishing, and we came across a couple of men who seemed to have got a good haul of kahawai.

I stopped to take a photo, and watched as one of the guys gutted them. A pretty messy business. He said you have to get rid of all the blood, as it makes the fish taste “too fishy” (which sounded like an odd statement to me – shouldn't fish taste of fish?).

Yuck! I’m glad John is not interested in fishing. Actually I was surprised to see that the fish had red blood. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I had never thought about the colour of a fish’s blood! I only ever see fish on a tray at the fish counter at the supermarket!

A good catch of kahawai

A quick detour to the edge of the Ngati Toa Domain, to catch a beautiful view, and that was it for today.

Sparkling waters off the Ngati Toa Domain (photo by John)

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