Sunday, 9 August 2015


On the final day of our recent holiday, Tuesday 21 July, we biked around the cycleways of Tauranga. It was a beautiful day, but very cold. There was a strong southerly blowing – straight off the Antarctic, by the feel of it. In fact it was so cold, that despite wearing a thicker jumper under my infamous blue jacket, I decided to wear my parka as well, to keep out the wind.

From our motel in Mount Maunganui, we biked to the foreshore where we had walked the previous evening, and rode on the boardwalk towards the Mount.

The sun glistening on the water sharply outlines Motuotau Island (photo by John)

Heading toward “The Mount” on the boardwalk (photo by John)

There are tracks to get to the top of Mount Maunganui, but we found out that they are not accessible to bikes. At the base of the Mount is an I-site (information centre) where we picked up a cycling map which gave us some idea of where we should be heading. 

Mount Maunganui sits at the end of a peninsula, and we biked along the shore of the harbour side of it. First a little way around the base of the Mount to Pilot Quay, then along The Mall, where a nice smooth concrete path slalom-ed sinuously around the Norfolk pines.

Tauranga Harbour view from Pilot Quay (photo by John)

The next bit was not so nice – a cycle lane on Totara Street, which is a very busy road through an industrial area leading to the Port of Tauranga with lots of trucks going past us. We increased the assist level to 4, and sped along as fast as we could. After this we came to a beautiful separate cycle path which took us over the bridge near the port.

A lot of traffic passed us on Totara Street (photo by John)

By this time we were ready for morning tea, and stopped at the Nautilus Café, part of a complex of apartments, with an exceedingly swish way to “park” one’s pleasure launch. A bit of an insight into how the other half lives. One floats into the channel below the building, then the boats are hoisted out of the water and raised onto “shelves” in the boat “parking building”. We were puzzled as to how they managed to stack the boats onto these shelves, until we found this video. Take a look – it’s fascinating. 

The Nautilus complex, with a café terrace (photo by John)

The pleasure boat “garage” (photo by John)

The café was very pleasant, equally swish, and we sat on the terrace, out of the biting wind. We looked out on to a cycle track that went up a ramp, over the waterway where the boats came into the building, and around the building, out towards the next part of the ride.

The terrace of Café Nautilus, with the bicycle ramp beyond (photo by John)

Across another bridge and along onto the Otumoetai foreshore. A smooth concrete path, right along the edge of the water. Very nice when we were sheltered by the houses, but raw when we were not. There are some amazing looking houses along there – huge, and very expensive, I am sure, what with views to Matakana Island and the sea beyond, and the cranes of the Port in the distance. Beautiful pohutukawa trees line the path near the Shaw Reserve.

Views towards Matakana Island and Mount Maunganui (photo by John)

Time for a rest

We kept going as far as the point at Fergusson Park. My god, it was cold! The southerly was blowing straight off the water – freezing! Here we turned around and went back to where we were able to join the track around the Waikareao Estuary.

Fergusson Park – beautiful but c-c-c-cold!

A magnificent tree – a macrocarpa, I think (photo by John)

The 9 km track around the Waikareao Estuary runs through a nice area of bush to begin with, and then there is a long stretch of boardwalks built over swampy areas – some areas of reeds, others of mangroves. On the east side of the estuary, the track skirted Takatimu Drive, which eventually led us to the Tauranga central waterfront and shopping area, where we stopped for lunch. 

The Waikareao Estuary track went through an area of bush … (photo by John)

… and over boardwalks (photo by John)

The eateries along the foreshore were all in the shade and exposed to the southerly, but we found a nice café in a mall at right angles to the waterfront, where it was both sunny and sheltered.

After lunch we crossed the harbour on a track attached to the side of a railway bridge. Very nice and scenic, but COLD! The wind ripped across the water. At the end of the bridge, on a causeway, the track stayed next to but just below the level of the railway line. John did not like the bridge or the causeway – he does have a problem with such narrow spaces, so he hurried to the end as fast as he could.

The track was attached to the side of the railway bridge across Tauranga Harbour (photo by John)

After the bridge the track ran below the railway line across the causeway

From here, Matapihi Road took us through a semi-rural area, back to Ocean Beach Road and along to Mount Maunganui. It was quite a long ride down to our end of town.

Looking towards the port from Matapihi Road (photo by John)

We were back at our motel at 3:15 pm. We had done 45 km. I was feeling quite tired, and felt that I’d done enough biking for now. We had been thinking of going to Rotorua the next day to try out some of the cycle tracks there, but I suggested to John we flag the idea, and go straight home instead. He agreed.

For our drive home, we had another lovely, but cold day. After a truly appalling cup of coffee at a Rotorua café called “Peppers”, we pushed on to Taupo where we stopped very briefly to take a few photos of the snow-clad mountains across the lake.

Mounts Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro across Lake Taupo (photo by John)

The drive on the Desert Road gave us magnificent views of “the mountain” – i.e. the three volcanoes, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. There had been heavy snow dumps on the central North Island two weeks earlier, which made the mountains look quite magical. We were just in time to see the mountains clear of clouds, before a squall of bad weather moved in.

Mount Ngauruhoe (photo by John)

Mount Ruapehu (photo by John)

The last photo of our trip

It had been an excellent holiday – spending time with the family, and then five days of biking, covering a distance of 205 km – but it was good to be home again.

No comments:

Post a Comment