Saturday 2 May 2015

Ohariu – Makara Beach – Karori

Yesterday was fine, but windy, and fairly cool. We took the e-bikes on a ride into Ohariu Valley and out to Makara Beach, returning through Karori. Before we went on our Nelson trip, we did this ride as a “try-out” for a longer distance ride with hill climbs. That time, we didn’t make it to Makara Beach, but today we included those extra few kilometres.

As Ohariu Valley is practically the next valley over from where we live, we didn’t need to load the bikes into the car, but biked straight from home. It is a bit of a climb to get over the hill, and then it's a nice long descent into Ohariu Valley.

The descent into Ohariu Valley (photo by John)

I do like the last kilometre before the crossroads – it is such a pretty valley, and the lifestyle blocks look so attractive, with wonderful looking homes on them. But would I want to live there? No, I don't think so. Though I love biking out in the countryside, I’m really a city person. I wouldn’t know what to do with several acres of land, or even a very large garden …

As we came round a bend in the road, we surprised a hawk, feeding off a road-kill possum. It took off immediately, but no sooner had we passed, than it wheeled around and headed back to finish its lunch.

At the crossroads we carried on up the hill, on Takarau Gorge Road, at the end of which we turned right to ride to Makara Beach. We had quite a headwind, with the northerly blowing in from the Tasman. But it is such a lovely landscape, and besides, we had our e-assist!

Makara Stream (photo by John)

Who can resist taking a photo of a delapidated old shed in a lovely landscape? (photo by John)

It was just on midday when we got to Makara Beach. It’s a funny little settlement – a mixture of new, fairly flash looking houses, and rather run-down, untidy baches. There is a café too, which is open from Thursday to Sunday, but we didn’t stop there for lunch. Instead we sat on a large rock, and ate some apple slices, while looking out to sea.

Makara Beach settlement is an interesting mixture of new and run-down houses/baches (photo by John)

Looking out to sea from Makara (photo by John)

After a short break, we headed back up the road towards Makara Village. Then came the hard grind to get over the hill into Karori. I found it harder than the last time we did this ride – probably because of the wind. As we were riding past Karori Park, we found that there was a nice café, overlooking the sports field – a cricket pavilion, in fact – where we stopped for lunch. The food was very good, but the coffee was only so-so.

This pavilion houses the Karori Park Café (photo by John)

During this ride, we were surprised at how much traffic there was. I counted over 40 cars between Johnsonville and Karori. Maybe Friday is the day “everyone” goes into town. When we rode here last time, on a Monday, we met fewer than half a dozen cars.

Interestingly, out in the country, cars were giving us plenty of space, but once we got into the suburbs, they were much less generous. Near the Karori cemetery, a car coming from the opposite direction, cut the corner so badly that he was well into my side of the road. Less than a metre between me and him! I must admit that I let fly an expletive!

We rode home along Wilton Road, Churchill Drive, through Ngaio and Khandallah. We did 45 km, and though I enjoyed the ride, it had felt rather harder than the last time we did this. I was glad to get home.

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