Sunday, 1 November 2015

Ohariu – Makara – Karori

Oh dear, I haven’t written up any of the rides we have done over the last month! Must get on with it.

On Wednesday 30 September, the day after our Petone to Eastbourne ride, it was still fine, and the forecast for the next few days was not very nice, so we had to make the most of it. We decided on Ohariu Valley, to Makara, and back through Karori. It was lovely, and quiet, only a couple of cars went past.

In the Takarau Gorge we were amazed at the grassy debris hanging in the fence between the road and the stream below. It looked like the stream must have risen to well above road level in the last lot of heavy rains.

Flood debris from the stream below hangs in the fences (photo by John)

When we got to the Makara turn-off, we tried to go up to the West Wind Recreation Park (where the windmills are). There was a sign at the bottom of the road saying the park was closed due to lambing, and would be opened again on 1 October. Well, it was 30 September today, only one day to go! Surely that would not be such a big deal? Stickler John thought we should not go up. But pragmatic me, I reckoned one day would not make any difference. So up the VERY steep road we went. However, we came to a locked gate, with the same message. Aww, darn, too bad!

Taking a breather on the very steep road up to the West Wind Recreation Park (photo by John)

Closed for lambing!

The way back down was great! (photo by John)

So we pedalled on towards Makara Beach, which was deserted. We couldn’t even get an ice cream at the shop/café, as it was closed. Along the way, John spotted a trio of men sitting in camping chairs by the stream. I guess they were probably whitebaiting, but maybe they were just having a companionable chinwag in the sun, away from “her indoors”.

Enjoying the sunshine (photo by John)

Makara Beach (photo by John)

So on towards Makara village and the hill back to Karori. Just at the edge of the beach settlement, I noticed a fence that had been decorated with masses of paua shells. The letterbox in the shape of a cottage completed the rustic effect. 

A paua fence

We made a brief “chocolate” stop at the cemetery by the little church, then tackled the hill. It is quite a climb, and I was looking forward to the descent into Karori. But when we were nearly at the top, John decided to investigate the Skyline Walkway. The sign said “Access to Karori Park”. That’s where we were planning to have lunch, wasn’t it, so why don’t we go down here?

I had reservations about the track. Is it suitable for bikes? John’s comment, “You won't know till you try it”. It started out OK, wide and not too steep.

The beginning of the track looked OK … (photo by John)

We asked a couple of women who were coming up the path, and they said it would be OK. Stupid women! It wasn’t OK, far from it! It was terrible! Very soon it became very narrow, and steep, and rough - lots of tree roots, rocks and hollows.

… then it started to deteriorate

We had to walk and manhandle the bikes over roots, rocks and hollows! (photo by John)

And some of the time we had to push the bikes uphill!

We had to walk the bikes, which was hard to do as they were heavy to hold back, when they wanted to roll down the steep slope. Unbelievably, we met a mountain biker - young, bearded and fit, and patently, bonkers! - who was BIKING UP the track! He waited patiently in a wider bit of the track to let us stumble past, before haring up the hill again. We asked how much further it was to the bottom, and he said this was about half-way. Oh, cripes! We struggled on, and eventually made it down to the park, and the café. Phew! We won't be doing that track again!

After lunch at the busy café - lots of mothers with kids, as it was the school holidays - we biked through the backroads of Karori, through Wilton and on to Crofton Downs. There we took the train back to Johnsonville, as I didn't want to bike through Ngaio and Khandallah, or struggle up any more hills. By the time we got home (we biked from Johnsonville, of course) we had done 39 km - quite enough for one day, especially since we had done 33 km the day before!

1 comment:

  1. I would much rather walk the skyline walkway than try to ride a bike over those tracks!