Saturday, 26 March 2016

Tawa to Gear Homestead

On Sunday 20 March, we went for a gentle ride to investigate whether the Kenepuru to Porirua section of Te Ara Tawa was open for use yet. I was still coming right from what was ailing me the previous week, so didn’t want to do anthing too energetic. But I figured I could “cope” with lunch at the Gear Homestead Café!

We parked at the Takapu Road station carpark, which is the beginning of Te Ara Tawa, and pedalled off towards Kenepuru. We were disappointed to find the path along the railway line to Porirua still blocked. (PS - We went there again a week later, on Easter Sunday, but still no luck. Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington mayor, stated on Facebook that it will be officially opened at 3pm on 7 April.)

At Kenepuru, the new track to Porirua was still fenced off (photo by John)

So we continued along the main road, and then on the path alongside the Porirua Stream until we got to the bridge by Porirua Station. All the way along the stream, we could see the mostly completed Ara Tawa on the opposite bank.

The track looks great – if only we could get to it … (photo by John)

Oops, they’ve missed a bit! (photo by John)

We crossed the bridge to take a closer look at the yet-to-be-completed section. It looks like there’s only another 50 metres or so of concrete still to be poured.

The last 50 metres to be completed (photo by John)

We made our way over the motorway overbridge and up the hill to the new Aotea subdivision, and Gear Homestead. It is wonderful that a café was opened there a couple of months ago. It is such a lovely venue. 

We ordered lunch and installed ourselves under an umbrella on the lawn (photo by John)

A monarch butterfly samples the delights of a salvia (photo by John)

Our coffees came in cute colourful cups (photo by John)

John took a walk to the top of the bridge which originally connected the main house to an annexe. James Gear, who had the house built in the 1880s, had an annexe added when his health deteriorated and he was unable to tolerate the noise made by his young children. He lived there alone with just a manservant and a nurse until his death in 1911. The annexe was destroyed by fire in 1967, but the bridge survived.

View from the bridge (photo by John)

The lawn at the front of the homestead

After a delicious lunch, we headed on our way back, but first we took a little detour around the streets of Aotea. At the entrance to the suburb there are many beautiful new houses; further along are lots of houses still being built, and empty sections for sale. On one of the empty sections we saw a group of pukekos, which did not seem to be at all perturbed by us. They must have come up the hill from the lagoon below.

Pukekos on an empty section (photo by John)

There is a lot of room for the suburb to expand. We rode to the end of the road, where earthworks were evidently preparing more sections.

The end of the road (photo by John)

Making room for more roads and more houses

We made our way home, having biked 20 km. Just right for an undemanding ride, on a lovely day.

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