Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Whitireia Park

On Saturday 18 October, we had planned to take my sister and brother-in-law for another bike ride, but they were unable to go, so instead we rode the track around Whitireia Park. We had done this ride once before, in May last year, and I swore then, that I would never do this ride again. I relented, and thought that with my improved fitness and modified gears it might be OK.

We parked at the start of the track, near where the road forks off to the right from the main road to Titahi Bay. I started out with an open mind about the track around the base of the peninsula. Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it.

Well actually, it was every bit as bad. It is still a horrible track, much more suited to walkers and mountain bikes with decent suspension, than to our little folders. Where the track is gravel, there are a lot of large embedded rocks, making it a very unpleasantly bumpy ride; where it is grass, it is either very deeply rutted, so your pedals catch the turf on the down stroke, or if you ride on the top, you get caught out by rabbit holes hidden by the grass.

The embedded rocks make the gravel track very rough … (photo by John)

… and the grass tracks are either deeply rutted or riddled with holes (photo by John)

But it is a beautiful area, with great views towards Papakowhai, Paremata and Plimmerton. The harbour is not very wide at this point.

Porirua Harbour is not very wide at this point. Papakowhai is the suburb in the background

Te Onepoto Bay at low tide (photo by John)

At Onehunga Bay we came to the end of the grass track. There is a carpark and picnic area, and beyond it, a sealed road, leading up the hill to the radio transmitters, and eventually back to Titahi Bay. A short stretch of sealed road goes around a rocky bay to Kaitawa Point. Here is a map of the area.

Onehunga Bay, looking out towards the Tasman (photo by John)

We rode on the sealed road to Kaitawa Point

This is where the road stops, so we turned around and prepared to climb the road back to Titahi Bay. The last time we were here, I balked at the steepness of this road, and we returned to Onepoto by climbing over the saddle, which was a much more hazardous gravel track than I had bargained on. So this time, we decided on the steep sealed road.

With supreme faith in my improved, modified gears, I started biking up the hill, but it was just too much for me. I ended up walking quite a few steep stretches, but biked the slightly less steep bits in between. Even John had to get off and walk some of the time.

Climbing up the hill from Onehunga Bay (photo by John)

Looking back at Kaitawa Point (photo by John)

I was surprised that there was quite a bit of traffic. We had at least ten cars pass us in either direction. It seems that it Onehunga Bay and Kaitawa Point are popular picnic and fishing spots on the weekend. And the views from the top of the hill are just wonderful.

It was quite a climb! (photo by John)

The top carpark with a view towards Mana Island (photo by John)

The descent into Titahi Bay down Thornley Street was quite steep. I had to keep applying the brakes, as I am not happy to hurtle down at full tilt. It didn’t take us long to get back to sea level, and down Titahi Bay Main Road, back to our car at Onepoto.

It was only a 10 km ride, and though the views are magnificent, I don't think I will want to do this again, unless they improve the track between Onepoto and Onehunga Bay. It just is not enjoyable to ride. I am up for a challenge, but I'm no masochist!

* * * * * * * * * * 

Before going home, we stopped at Pataka Museum for a quick look at the galleries, before they closed. I looked at an exhibition by glass artist Garry Nash, entitled “Neon Sign”, which contained works that were a mix of scientific-style glassware and more conventional neon signs, unconventionally shaped and colourfully lit up.

A glass and wire construction by Garry Nash. I liked the shadows it created

The other exhibition was by Peter Madden, a selection of his 2D and 3D sculptures and collages over the last decade. It was entitled “Coming from all the places you have never been”. Very intriguing, minutely detailed collages which display a fascination for butterflies, snakes, fish, chairs, eyes, mouths and shoes! You could spend hours just discovering all the details.

I liked this book of butterflies. The next exhibit was a book from which the butterflies had been meticulously cut out. What skill!

Book of butterflies, by Peter Madden

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pictures.
    The Onehunga Bay looks so nice and peaceful.