Thursday, 30 January 2014

Waikanae and Peka Peka

At last! The man at the Met Office promised us a week of fine weather. I don’t know if that will come off, but yesterday was glorious! It was beautifully warm, and the breeze kept us from overheating. We went to Waikanae to repeat part of a ride we had done before. We rode 24 kms.

We parked near the start of Rutherford Drive, and biked towards Peka Peka. It is a lovely ride, on the road, but there is hardly any traffic on a weekday. At the cross-roads we turned into the little road that leads to the beach.

We walked our bikes all the way down onto the beach. The beach was deserted, except for an older couple looking for shells. I wondered whether John wanted to ride on the hard sand along the beach. We probably could have, but no, you’d have to go fairly close to the water’s edge, and we didn’t want to risk getting salt water on our bikes (rust!). Although riding on the beach is one of my “bucket list” items, that would be riding a horse, not riding a bike. One day, maybe, I’ll do it on horseback …

Peka Peka Beach and Kapiti Island (photo by John)

I noticed that near some of the houses in this area, there were large watertanks for the rural fire service. There is no water reticulation here, so houses are all on tank water, too.

These tanks were positioned near the houses in Peka Peka

We explored all the side roads off Peka Peka Road. A little distance into the first of these roads, we found a sign, set in a nice little garden, saying “Tasman Lakes”. Then a bit further along we came to a small lake. I thought that it seemed rather an extravagant sign for such a little lake. But as we came round another bend in the road we discovered that the sign was actually the entrance to a new subdivision called “Tasman Lakes”.

The first of the “Tasman Lakes” (photo by John)

It is a very pleasant setting. There are several lakes, some of them providing habitats for many birds – Canada geese, ducks, paradise ducks, and pukekos were some that we saw. The houses are all large and pretty flash, on huge sections or lifestyle blocks. Very nice if you have a spare million or two or three …

The lakes provide habitats for birdlife

Gorgeous houses on huge sections or lifestyle blocks (photo by John)

Another beautiful house in "Tasman Lakes" (photo by John)

Further along, two more roads that we went down, led to subdivisions called “Tasman Hills” and “Coastal Dunes”.

As we were pedalling down Peka Peka Road, I just had to take a photo of a fence line of gorgeous agapanthus flowers. I love the blue flowers, they spell “summer” for me. I know some people consider agapanthus to be weeds and a nuisance, but I think they are stunning when they flower, especially en masse. Unfortunately, these ones were already a bit past their best.

A fence line of agapanthus on Peka Peka Road

Onwards, towards lunch at Harrisons, the excellent café at the garden centre near SH1. Their coffee is always just right, and I really enjoyed the day’s “special” – garden salad with smoked salmon. It was delicious and very good value.

Along the road back to Waikanae, I was impressed with the huge flower stalks of an agave. They towered way above the power lines alongside (as you can see on the photo below). This plant – the agave americana – is a long-lived plant, and it flowers only once at the end of its life, after which it dies. Shoots growing from the base will form new plants to continue the lifecycle.

The “flower” of an agave americana. Note the tui about a quarter of the way down

Back in suburban Waikanae Beach, we rode around some of the streets, and I admired several flowering gum trees by the roadside. Some were covered in blazing orange, others in fiery red.

Buds, flowers and nuts of a flowering gum tree

A closer look at the gum tree flowers

Eventually, we ended up near the beach again. We sat on a seat, and enjoyed the view for a bit. In the distance, beyond Kapiti, we could see the South Island.

Waikanae Beach, with Kapiti Island, and the South Island in the distance

We like this fence alongside a reserve in Waikanae Beach (photo by John)

Back to the car, and while driving back down Moana Road, I was struck again by the blazing colour of the gum trees, so we stopped to take some more pictures. I was glad to see the flowers were fairly buzzing with foraging bees.

The nectar-laden gum flowers were attracting lots of bees

Just as a postscript: A while ago, John adjusted the position of my saddle. I had asked if the handlebar could be raised a bit higher, so that I could sit a bit more upright. That was not possible without jeopardizing the stability of the frame, so instead, he moved the seat forward by about 2 cms. It made quite a difference. I can sit more upright, and I am still able to hold on to the handlebar properly, instead of having to steer with my fingertips.

A dune restoration project near Peka Peka

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