Sunday, 31 August 2014

Folding Goldies ride – Waikanae to Paekakariki

On Thursday 28 August, we went on our second “Folding Goldies” ride. This time we took the train to Waikanae and biked the Kapiti Coastal Cycle Route – via Paraparaumu, Raumati and Queen Elizabeth II Park – to Paekakariki, from where we caught the train back to Wellington.

We were very lucky with the weather – it was a perfect, calm, spring day. John and I boarded the train at the Takapu Road Station in Tawa because it is not far from where we live.

Waiting for the train at Takapu Road Station (photo by John)

And here it comes! (photo by John)

Alastair was already on the train. Of the four other people who had said they would go on this ride, three ended up not being able to, and the fourth met us at Waikanae. Alastair had folded up his bike, as there was already another bike strapped up in the official bike spot, and only three bikes can be carried in this way. When another man with a bike came on board at Porirua, John folded up his bike to make room for him.

It is years since I travelled along the Kapiti Coast by train – a trip on the (then called) Northerner to Auckland – and that was not a brilliant day like today. The views from the railway line are gorgeous. Porirua Harbour was like a mirror, and the view to Kapiti Island is better from the train, than from the road.

View to Kapiti Island, from the train (photo by John)

We were met at Waikanae Station by Lynn Sleath, who is involved with the Cycling Advocates Network and Kapiti Cycling Inc. As a local resident, he is obviously very knowledgeable about the area, and he was our guide for much of the ride. We rode through the town centre, across Te Moana Road, and into Karu Crescent, to get to the track on the northern bank of the Waikanae River. Halfway along, we crossed the new-ish Te Arawai Bridge to the southern bank.

We had biked both sides of the river before. What was different this time was the progress made on the construction of the Waikanae Bridge – part of the new Kapiti Expressway. The walking/cycling track has been preserved across the works site. We stopped to take a few pictures. Right next to the track were cages for two of the huge concrete piles that will support the bridge. An information board nearby told us that these will reach depths of 40 metres below ground level!

The cages for the bridge piles, which will go down to a depth of 40 metres!

At the Otaihanga Domain, we ducked under the bridge and rode on a path along the river that was new to us, and which eventually ended up on Manly Street in Paraparaumu.

Near the mouth of the Waikanae River. Kapiti Island is in the background (photo by John)

Muesli bar stop at Paraparaumu Beach. From left, Alastair, John, Lynn

There is a nice, smooth concrete, shared path along Marine Parade, with picnic tables and other seating nearby. When it ended, we rode on up the hill towards Raumati, then diverted onto a track that led us past an open area near the airport.

The shared walking/cycle path along Marine Parade

Somewhere near the airport

We stopped in Raumati for a leisurely lunch (photo by John)

After a leisurely lunch in Raumati, Lynn showed us the way to the start of Queen Elizabeth II Park, and then left us. The three of us carried on along the Coastal Track in the sand dunes to Paekakariki.

I had a few reservations about this track, as I knew it would go up and down a lot. But, as John said, the “ups” were only short, and he was sure I would manage them fine. Well, I did – sort of. I did have to get off quite a few times and walk, but I was heartened to see that John and Alastair also had to do that a few times, though not as often as me.

Some of the “ups” of the Coastal Track were quite steep … (photo by John)

… but the views were lovely (photo by John)

Along the way, the track crossed two streams, both fortunately spanned by bridges. After the Wainui Stream, we had to walk on the beach for a short distance as the track was all sanded up and overgrown.

The bridge across the Wainui Stream (photo by John)

Looking back at the Wainui Stream

When we arrived at the township of Paekakariki, Alastair led us up a steepish road, which he said was a more direct route to the station, so that we might catch the 2:15pm train back to Wellington. Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it – as we got to the top of the hill, we were in time to see the train pulling out. Not to worry, there would be another one in half an hour, which would still allow us to use our Gold Cards. That gave us time for another cup of coffee at the Perching Parrot Café.

Coffee and cake at the Perching Parrot (photo by John)

Three folding bikes – Alastair’s “Tern” on the left, our “Giant Expressways” on the right (photo by John)

The Paekakariki Station building is now a museum, established in the 1990s, when the buildings were threatened with demolition. The museum is only open during weekends, so perhaps we should make a special trip some time to check it out.

The historic Signal Box at Paekakariki Station

The beautifully restored historic station building

It was a very enjoyable “Folding Goldies” ride, though it was disappointing that the other three people had to pull out. Alastair has really been trying to publicise the group, and hopefully we will get a few more takers next time. The plan will be to ride from Waikanae to Peka Peka and back. Alastair has posted his photos on Flickr here.

It seemed like cycling from Waikanae to Paekakariki would be rather a long ride, but in fact it was only 25 km. When I was reflecting upon this, I realised that it shows my progress over the past year’s cycling, now that I can think of 25 km as “only” 25 km. A year ago, I would have thought that anything over 15 km was a major ride! As for those ups and downs on the sand dunes …


  1. Thanks for recording this, Desiree. Hopefully we'll get a few more takers as spring takes hold!

  2. And thanks for organising it, Alastair. I talked to another potential taker today - not a folder, nor a Goldie, but hopefully keen to come along too.

  3. Im catching the train today to waikanae and biking back to Porirua.

    1. The route will be a lot easier now than back in 2014, with the cycle track next to the Kaiti Expressway, and Te Ara o Whareroa to Paekakariki. I would still not be too keen to bike from there to Pukerua though, along the Centennial Highway. Good luck.