Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wellington Waterfront and Pencarrow

Last week, we went for two rides – one short and easy along the Wellington waterfront, the other a bit longer, out to Pencarrow and beyond.

On Thursday, 23 April, we went for a short, easy-peasy 10 km ride on the Wellington waterfront. In the morning, I had been to a fairly strenuous class at the gym – 52 minutes straight of “cardio” – and Thursday is one of our Scottish Country dancing nights, so I didn’t want to do anything too vigorous. But it was such a lovely calm day, that we didn’t want to waste the opportunity of going for a bike ride. As winter is starting to make itself felt, we have to make the most of the fine days when we can.

It was a ride we’ve done many times before – it has become our “standard” ride if we want to do something short, sweet and easy. So there’s nothing new to tell, but John took some nice photos that we’d like to share.

Lovely reflections in the boat harbour (photo by John)

There was a cruise ship in port, Radiance of the Sea, which must surely be the last of the season? There were also two navy ships tied up at Queen’s Wharf – one French and one New Zealand – here for the Anzac Day commemorations. The French frigate Vendemiaire had arrived from Vanuatu, where its crew had been assisting with the clean-up after cyclone Pam. The other was the HMNZS Wellington.

The cruise ship Radiance of the Sea is reflected in the windows of the Westpac Stadium (photo by John)

Two navy ships are tied up at Queen’s Wharf (photo by John)

Tracks made by the beach grooming machine contrast with the light on the water at Oriental Bay (photo by John)

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The next day was even more perfect – fine and calm – and we thought of several possibilities for the day’s ride. It was a toss-up between the Rimutaka Rail Trail, Whitemans Valley, or Pencarrow. We decided on Rimutaka, however, when we got to the Hutt Road, we noticed the clouds trying to get over the hills from the Wairarapa. We thought it might not be so nice further up the Hutt Valley, so Pencarrow would be a better option.

We parked the car in Eastbourne, and biked to Burdan’s Gate, from where there is (awkward) access to the Pencarrow road. We have ridden this track quite a few times now, and we noticed that the beaches that faced south or south-east had got a beating in the last few storms. Lots of debris on those beaches, and a lot of sand and gravel had been tossed up onto the road by the waves. A grader had pushed the sand to the edges.

Debris on the beach (photo by John)

The sand thrown up by storms has been pushed to the sides of the road (photo by John)

It seems to be getting easier each time to get to the lighthouse. When we did this ride for the first time, it seemed like a major achievement. Now we say “Let’s go a bit further”.

Pencarrow Lighthouse

The rocks by the lighthouse (photo by John)

We carried on past the lighthouse towards the lakes, but we didn’t go up into the hills. We had intended to keep going on the coast road until it became too rough, but we came to a closed gate with a sign saying “Private Property”. On previous rides, this gate had been open, and I believe that it is still OK to go beyond the gate – so long as you keep to the road and act responsibly, of course – but we decided to turn around here.

Lake Kohangatera (photo by John)

On the way back we saw the Interisland ferry heading into the harbour. Suddenly John put on a big burst of energy, and rushed ahead. For a few minutes I tried to keep up with him, then I twigged – he wanted a shot of the ferry as it came past the lighthouse! He got there in time.

The Interisland ferry Aratere steams past the Pencarrow Lighthouse (photo by John)

Water, sun and rocks (photo by John)

It was a lovely 25 km ride, with perfect weather, followed by lunch at the Chocolate Dayz Café in Days Bay.

Lunch at the Chocolate Dayz Café (photo by John)

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