Sunday, 12 February 2017

Waikanae to Peka Peka


Last Thursday, 9 February, we took the train up to Waikanae and planned to bike to Peka Peka. It was a fine day but there was a chilly southerly blowing. We felt we wanted coffee before setting off from Waikanae, so we stopped at a bakery in the shopping centre. Not that we had any great hopes of a good cup of coffee from there, but the few tables and chairs in the sunshine were sheltered from the cold wind. The apple strudel was nice, the coffee only barely so-so.

While we were sitting there, a tall chap arrived and parked his yellow bike near ours and said “Mind if I join you?”. We remembered the bike before we recognised him. We had met Tony once on a ride around Miramar

Tony and his distinctive yellow bike (photo by John)

He told us that he had biked that morning from Upper Hutt, via Haywards and the Paekakariki Hill, and that he was returning via the Akatarawa Road. “That’ll be just over a 100 km”, he said. He talked about various other places he likes to cycle – some very long rides, well over 100 km in a day. He obviously likes to drive himself hard.

When it was time to move on, we debated which way to go along the Waikanae River track. We decided on riding the south bank, because the beginning of the north bank, where we had biked with the Folding Goldies a week earlier, has a few tricky bits – John called them “technical”, I think that’s a cycling term. So we walked our bikes past the shops and across the road bridge to the south bank. We didn’t know we were in for a bit of a “technical” surprise.

We walked across the road bridge to get to the south bank of the Waikanae River (photo by John)

One of those annoying zig-zag gates at the start of the track (photo by John)

A little way down the track we met a cyclist who said “It’s rough as guts along there!”. He meant the track. Some muddy patches and one place where the track was so rough it was the size of boulders. We thought that maybe he was exaggerating a bit. We soon found out that he wasn’t!

We came to a bend in the river, where the rushing water has tended to erode the bank. We biked along here last October and the bank had been scoured out, but there was still a bit of a track then. But obviously since the last lot of flooding, large boulders had been placed there to prevent further scouring. And the boulders were the track.

We had to wait for another cyclist to negotiate the “track”

The upstream view

There is still a bit of a track at first …

… but then it peters out to just boulders (photo by John)

The last bit is just big boulders

Manoeuvering a heavy e-bike over the boulders was a bit of a mission (photo by John)

Phew! Nearly there …

A bit further down the track there was a sign about works being done to improve the river banks, and we saw a bulldozer digging away at the gravel on the opposite bank.

Work to improve the river banks

The track generally was fairly rough, a bulldozer had obviously been through as its metal tracks had left rutted corrugations in places. And near the Kapiti Expressway bridge, the track is very stony. Hopefully that will be improved once all the work around the bridge will be completed, and fences removed.

The Kapiti Expressway bridge is all but completed (photo by John)

Under the bridge (photo by John)

We made our way through the Otaihanga Domain, across the footbridge, past the Waimanu Lagoon, and onto the road through Waikanae Beach, towards Peka Peka.

Ducks and shags share a jetty at the Waimanu Lagoon (photo by John)

A stream outlet in the Esplanade Reserve (photo by John)

At Peka Peka, there are roadworks around the area where the Kapiti Exressway is in its completion stages. We went to look whether the cycleway would be useable, but it appeared not to be quite ready yet.

The start of the cycleway near the new off-ramp from the Kapiti Expressway (photo by John)

After a pleasant lunch at Harrison’s Garden Centre Café, we headed back towards Waikanae. Along the way we saw an interesting construction next to a letterbox. There was a notice on the miniature police box inviting people to open the door. Inside was a shelf, that’s all. We wondered whether it was meant to be, or become, a Little Free Library. Or else was it an address where they were expecting lots of parcels?

Is it a Tardis? or a mini library? or just a BIG letterbox? (photo by John)

We rode back to Waikanae Station via Te Moana Road, which has a nice cycling shoulder most of the way.

Te Moana Road, with the Expressway roadworks in the distance (photo by John)

Back on the 2:30 pm train, we were well satisfied with our 30 km ride.

No comments:

Post a comment