Saturday, 24 June 2017

Mana to Pukerua

Last Monday, 19 June, we took a ride from Mana to Pukerua Bay. It was fine but cold, however there was little wind. We parked the car at the Ngati Toa Domain in Mana, and biked along the foreshore to Plimmerton.

The rocky foreshore, looking across to the Whitireia Peninsula and Mana Island beyond (photo by John)

Looking the other way, towards Plimmerton (photo by John)

We biked up Te Ara Harakeke from Plimmerton to Pukerua, where we used the pedestrian overbridge to cross SH1, so we could explore the “other” side of Pukerua. We have lived in Wellington for over 50 years, and have driven through Pukerua a gazillion times, but we had never explored that area.

After crossing the railway line at the station, we headed to the left, towards a track that looked promising. However it was the track leading to the Escarpment Track. This is the steep 10 km track that clings to the side to the Paekakariki Hill. It was opened last year, and is part of the Te Araroa Walking Trail which runs the length of New Zealand, 3,000 km, from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

While I am full of admiration (no, actually, I think they're completely bonkers!) for the many people who are bold and keen enough to walk this track, there is no way at all that I will ever attempt it. Not on foot, and not by bike (which is not possible anyway). I stick to the assertion that I am a “flatlander” – I don’t “do hills” if I can help it.

The sign at the start of the Escarpment Track is full of warnings (click to enlarge), but it doesn’t seem to put off hundreds of people who enjoy walking it – but it’s not for me! (photo by John)

This part of Pukerua Bay is a pleasant suburban area, where some of the streets have gorgeous views out towards Paraparaumu and the Tasman Sea.

Some streets had great views (photo by John)

We came across a house which was a work of art in progress. Three-quarters of the façade had been painted with a view, which I imagine will be like the view they get from the windows on the other side of the house. Or perhaps, as John suggests, it could be the view one gets from Plimmerton. The lower right quadrant is yet to be painted. We will have to come back next summer to see if it has been completed.

The painted house (photo by John)

We biked all around the streets, and arrived at the old, now closed, Muri Station. The Escarpment Track skirts this area. We continued on the path alongside the station, but it petered out at a grassy slope, and we ended up pushing our bikes up it (thank goodness for the “walk assist” on our bikes) to get back to the street above.

After a good explore around the streets, we saw that clouds were gathering, and we didn’t want to get caught in the rain, so we headed back. We stopped at Plimmerton’s Big Salami Café for coffee and one of their delicious pizzas. We’d had a pleasant ride, exploring a "new" area, and John had managed it OK, despite some health concerns a few days earlier. We had done 22 km.

The foreshore track between Plimmerton and Mana (photo by John)

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