Saturday, 18 April 2015

Whitemans Valley

When we rode in the Mangaroa Valley to test the eMetro bike a couple of weeks ago, we decided the area was worth exploring further, so on Thursday we went for a great ride in Whitemans Valley, in the hills to the east of Upper Hutt.

It was a beautiful day, with a dying southerly. We parked the car at the Petone foreshore, and took the e-bikes on the train from Petone to Upper Hutt.

The dying southerly still churns up the waves at Petone

From Upper Hutt we rode up Wallaceville Road, which is reasonably steep, and from where there is a good view over Upper Hutt. From the top of the road, the terrain flattens out onto a couple of delightful valleys.

View to Maidstone from Wallaceville Road (photo by John)

Whitemans Valley from the top of Wallaceville Road (photo by John)

At the end of Wallaceville Road, the road splits – the left, across the bridge, leads to the Mangaroa Valley (which is where we went a couple of weeks ago), and the right heads into Whitemans Valley.

Mangaroa Valley to the left, Whitemans Valley to the right (photo by John)

Whitemans Valley is flat and pleasantly rural, the road is virtually straight, with the occasional wriggle, and there is hardly any traffic. I think there were only two or three cars in an hour of cycling.

The silence is almost complete. At one point, when I was waiting for John to take a photo, it was so quiet, that I could hear the soft tugging sounds of the cows cropping the grass. The only other sound was a distant rooster crowing. How blissful!

The road is almost straight … (photo by John)

… and pleasantly rural (photo by John)

A brightly clad scarecrow stands guard (photo by John)

Along the way we saw a great variety of livestock: apart from several herds of cattle – Jersey dairy cows and Angus beef cattle, from what I could figure – we saw goats, donkeys, horses, sheep, and alpacas. The pair of white goats in a paddock were probably pets, as they came towards the fence, bleating in expectation of some treat. Unfortunately there was a ditch between us and the fence, and we didn’t have anything for them anyway.

Cows are lovely, intensely curious, as they stop grazing and follow you with their big brown eyes. As for the alpacas, they too came towards us, eyed us with interest, then wandered off. They are quite delightful creatures with their upright posture, beautiful eyelashes, and dainty way of walking.

After checking us out, the alpacas daintily wandered off (photo by John)

Down the road from the alpacas, we came by a shearing shed with a corrugated iron shape of an alpaca on the wall, and further down still, we were overtaken by a car with the number plate “ALPACA”.

The alpaca shearing shed (photo by John)

Lovely Whitemans Valley Road (photo by John)

After about an hour’s cycling we arrived at the turn-off to the Short Straw Café, a short distance up Johnsons Road, where we stopped for lunch. Then we returned to the Hutt Valley by the Blue Mountains Road. We were overtaken by a few cars, so we donned our hi-viz vests, in preparation for the winding downhill road.

On Blue Mountains Road we donned our hi-viz vests (photo by John)

Three kilometres of lovely downhill into Pinehaven (photo by John)

The lovely wooded downhill road took us into Pinehaven, and eventually to Silverstream. From there we rode along the main road as far as the Stokes Valley roundabout, where we joined the Hutt River Trail, and headed back to Petone.

This had been a really lovely 44 km ride. The weather was perfect, and Whitemans Valley is quite delightful. We are bound to do this ride again, perhaps using the regular folders, rather than the e-bikes. We could tackle it from the other end, and go up Mangaroa Hill Road, which is not as steep as Wallaceville Road, to get to the Mangaroa Valley, and then into Whitemans Valley.

We think it might be a suitable ride to suggest for the Folding Goldies group.

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