Sunday, 24 November 2019

Kapiti Coast ride

On Wednesday last week (20 November), we went on a ride we have done many times before, but John took some interesting photos, so here we are with another blog. It promised to be a lovely warm day – or so the Met Office said – but it was still cool enough to need a jacket. This spring, Wellington has been several degrees cooler than elsewhere in NZ, making us feel hard done by …

We parked in Paekakariki, had coffee and a scone, and set off down the Parade, along the waterfront, to make our way to the entrance of Te Ara O Whareroa, through Queen Elizabeth II Park.

Along the Parade at Paekakariki (photo by John)

We were surprised at how very brown the waves were, as they were rolling onto the beach. On other days when we’ve been here, the sea has looked a pristine bluish green.

The waves were unusually brown (photo by John)

On Te Ara O Whareroa, I was delighted to see, and smell, the flowering lupins. At this stage of their flowering, they exude a gorgeous sweet fragrance that you get whiffs of when you ride past large patches of it.

The lupins were in full bloom … (photo by John)

… punctuated by the occasional drift of purple daisies (photo by John)

Over the past year, many areas have been cleared of blackberry and bracken, and have been planted with natives. It looks a bit barren for now, but I am sure it will look very different in a year or two.

Some areas were cleared of weeds, and planted with natives (photo by John)

Riding through the lupins – to the tune of “Tiptoe through the Tulips” … (photo by John)

We biked all the way to Pekapeka. Near Paraparaumu, we stopped to look at the activities of the “world's most famous” Moscow Circus. Four big poles, which were to support the big top, had been erected with the tent still lying on the ground.

The centre cone of the big top is being attached to the cables to raise it (photo by John)

The caravans of the circus people are lined up along the edge of the site (photo by John)

By the lagoon just before the Expressway turn-off to Waikanae, we came across this goose, on the edge of the path, doing a lot of head nodding – stretching and contracting his neck – at another goose hidden in the grass. He looked quite threatening when we biked past, hissing at us. On our way back, we found out why …
Goosey, goosey, gander … (photo by John)

We made our way to Pekapeka, where we had a very satisfying lunch at Harrison’s Garden Centre café – chocolate waffles with ice-cream for John, and sautéed mushrooms for me.

At the corner of Pekapeka Road, there is a cyclepath with a sign post pointing towards Otaki, and before our return trip, we thought we would see how far it would take us. We biked up about 100 metres, but then decided we should do that on another day, setting off from perhaps Waikanae or Paraparaumu, so as not to add too many more kilometres to today’s 52 km.

On our way back past the geese, we saw why the one we saw earlier was acting threateningly: he was there with his mate and a couple of downy goslings, which he was obviously wanting to protect. John took a series of photos of them, slowly moving a little closer each time, without panicking them.

The geese were still at the same spot as we saw them before … (photo by John)

… but now we saw something else – they were protective parents … (photo by John)

… of two fluffy goslings (photo by John)

When we got back to the circus, the big top was in the process of being raised. We stuck around to watch proceedings until the four corners of the tent were fully at the top. While the whole canvas was probably being hoisted by some motorised means under the tent, there were men stationed at intervals around the outside of the tent, hand-winching the guy ropes.

The big top is making its way up (photo by John)

Halfway there. Note the chap in the orange vest in the bottom left of the photo and two men in front of the tent, who are hand-winching some of the guy-ropes (photo by John)

All done! (photo by John)

An advertisement for the circus, on a truck at Raumati (photo by John)

Finally we rode back to Paekakariki. The wetlands along Te Ara O Whareroa seem to be changing in size and shape every time we go past. The hills are still wonderfully green and lush. Towards the end of summer, they will probably be all brown (hoping we will get a nice warm summer …).

Wetlands below Te Ara O Whareroa (photo by John)

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