Saturday, 27 April 2013

Waikanae Riverbank



Yesterday was a beautiful day, and we decided that a trip up to the Kapiti Coast would be a good idea. We once went for a lovely walk from the Otaihanga Domain, near Paraparaumu, along the Waikanae River towards the beach. At that time we didn’t explore the path going back up the river. So the night before our ride, John checked the area around the river on Google Earth, which showed quite clearly that there was a track from near the mouth of the river along the north bank all the way to the road bridge (SH1) and another on the south bank back to the start. 

We parked the car at the dead-end of The Drive, Paraparaumu, and cycled the short distance to the Otaihanga Domain.

There is a nice foot bridge across the river, and at first we turned left, towards the beach. The water level in the river was high, as the tide was in. The track was pretty close to the water, and in some places it was quite muddy. Then we struck long stretch where it was awash, so we gave up on getting to the beach and turned around.

We had to stop a few times for John to minister to my bike, which was making rattling noises. It’s very useful having a husband who can take care of such things. Especially one who never goes anywhere without a set of tools.

The track towards the main road offered quite a varied landscape. It led through a wooded area between the river and farmland. The riding surface was variable in quality – sometimes wide and smooth, but in some places it was narrow and muddy, especially in the shade of the trees. There must have been a lot of rain recently.

At one stage there was a barrier and a notice telling us that the land beyond it was private land, and that people were welcome to go there provided they stayed on the track. Access was either over a three-step stile, or by ducking under a rail. Handy having folding bikes, as we just folded down the handlebars to fit under the barrier.

This land belonged to a pony club, judging from the horses in the paddocks, and a few riders practicing small jumps in a ring. Here the track all but petered out, and it became a very skinny muddy trail through the grass. Not a nice surface to cycle on as we tried to avoid the puddles, quite hard work.

As we got closer to the main road, we went up and down a very narrow, winding, slippery path between closely planted trees. John advice to negotiate this – “go slowly”. Yes, well … I went so slowly I stalled, and slammed my shoulder against a tree as I fell off the bike. Lucky the tree was there, actually, or I would have rolled down the bank, and maybe ended up in the drink.

Once at the main road, we crossed the road bridge – walking our bikes on the footpath. The track on the south bank of the river was very different – nice and wide all the way, and the landscape was much more open. One of the more interesting sights was a paddock of ostriches, peacefully grazing.

We stopped several times to take photos. John tried out his latest adaptation – he used a bracket to mount a small camera on his handlebar. This way he only needs to stop cycling, and can take a picture of the road or landscape ahead, without having to rummage about to get his camera out. Of course, he still had another camera with him to take the “good” photos. Photography is one of his great interests, and he’s very good at it. As you can see on this blog, his photos (always acknowledged) are way better than mine.

Before returning to the car, we also rode the track through the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve. This is a narrow meandering path – sometimes on solid land, and sometimes on boardwalks across the swampy bits – and in the more twisty parts it was a bit tricky to negotiate without keeling off the edge.

In total we rode 17 kms. I must be getting fitter, as my body did not complain (too much). Yay!

We finished another very enjoyable excursion with lunch at the 180 Degrees Café on Paraparaumu’s Marine Parade, and a walk around the shopping streets with an icecream cone in hand..



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