Saturday, 23 April 2016

Paekakariki, Paraparaumu and Pukerua

On Wednesday 20 April, it was another lovely day (Wellington has been so lucky with the weather this summer and autumn). We decided on a nice easy ride: train up to Paekakariki, ride the Ara Whareroa track to Paraparaumu, and take the train back. We invited my sister along, but she was not able to go. So since it was just the two of us, on e-bikes, we ended up doing a much longer ride of 51 km.

We started off quite late in the morning, so it was midday when we got off the train at Paekakariki. Time for coffee, at the Beach Road Deli.

Coffee at the Beach Road Deli (photo by John)

There is another nice café just a little further up the road – the Perching Parrot – but it was closed. I puzzled about whether it had closed down, because it had not been open the last couple of times we came up here. Upon checking, it turns out that it is closed on Wednesdays and public holidays. And we often do our longer rides on Wednesdays as we have no other commitments then.
We biked up Tilley Road to get to the start of the Ara Whareroa track, near a sports pavilion with interesting tukutuku-inspired paintings on its wall. 

Tilley Road, Paekakariki (photo by John)

Tukutuku-inspired paintings on a sports pavilion (photo by John)

The Ara Whareroa track is lovely and wide, meandering and undulating around the Queen Elizabeth II Park. There are a few places where the track has been cut through the sandhills, and where the wind-blown sand makes the track a bit skiddy – it pays to slow down a little.

A cutting through a sandhill, where the track is a little skiddy (photo by John)

With John’s new camera arrangement, there are far too many photos of me biking behind him. It’s hard to select a photo of the track that does not involve me …

Te Ara Whareroa ends at Poplar Avenue. Instead of turning left through Raumati and on along Rosetta Road, we went straight along this time, onto Matai Road and Hillcrest Road – pleasant and quiet suburban streets with nice gardens to look at – to eventually end up on Marine Parade at Paraparaumu.

Heading towards Marine Parade, Paraparaumu (photo by John)

The beach at Paraparaumu was deserted, except for one chap sitting in his camping chair alongside some chilly bins. I think he must have had a long fishing line with multiple hooks in the water, and was waiting for his catch to materialise.

A lonely vigil on the beach. Kapiti Island in the distance (photo by John)

After lunch at the Beach Hutch Café, we headed back the way we came. We debated whether to take the train back from Paraparaumu as originally planned, or to try to get back to Paekakariki in time to catch the last Gold Card train at 2:45. We had less than an hour to do that, and we weren’t sure we’d make it. But we did. We got there with four minutes to spare.

We made it to Paekakariki Station with four minutes to spare (photo by John)

Once on the train, John surprised me by telling the other chap with a bike on the train that, like him, we were going only as far as Pukerua Bay. Huh? Okay, we were going to ride back to Tawa from there. Not a big deal as it’s mainly downhill, but it still added about 22 km to our ride!

The other cyclist (of a similar vintage to us) told us he was “in training” for biking in Europe. He and his group were going to ride the Danube Cycle Path – lucky people! I would so love to do something like that.

Getting ready to alight at Pukerua Bay (photo by John)

Down Te Ara Harakeke, and through Plimmerton, over the Paremata Bridge, and up and over the pedestrian overbridge by Paramata station, along Papakowhai Road to Aotea. This time, instead of going over the motorway at Porirua, we continued on the path that led us to the underpass below the motorway, to end up at Porirua Station.

Mana Island seen from Plimmerton (photo by John)

Toetoe near Paremata Station (photo by John)

The underpass below the motorway near Porirua Station (photo by John)

Finally, we headed down the new Porirua to Kenepuru section of Te Ara Tawa, to get us back to Takapu Road Station, from where we had taken the train earlier in the day. Feeling a little the worse for wear – 51 km, instead of the 20 km we had planned.

The Porirua end of Te Ara Tawa (photo by John)

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