Tuesday, 1 May 2018


Sunday 18 March was a perfect day – fine and calm – to bike to Pencarrow. We parked near the Eastbourne Wharf and biked the three kilometres to Burdan’s Gate, which is the start of the road to Pencarrow.

Since it was such a beautiful day, the Burdan’s Gate Bike Shed was doing brisk business, with many people hiring bikes. This even caused a bit of a queue at the gate itself.

There is a gate across the road entrance, but it is kept locked for ordinary mortals. You need special permission to be able to drive on the Pencarrow Road. So walkers and cyclists have to gain access through a narrow gate at the side.

It really is a silly gate – very narrow, with a springloaded mechanism that keeps wanting to shut on you. It is so narrow, that you have to raise your bike on its rear wheel to get the handle bars over, rather than through, the gate. People with lightweight bikes did the smart thing by lifting their bikes over the main gate, but with the electric bikes (at 25 kg) this is not practical.

It was a lovely ride. All along I kept thinking that we Wellingtonians are so lucky to have such a lot of different environments for biking, right on our doorstep, as it were. It is such a beautiful part of the coast — in fine weather, of course!

As the road winds in and out of the many bays, we enjoyed the views of the different beaches. Some strewn with driftwood, some with just lots of seaweed, and some with beautiful but dangerous rocks.

Beaches strewn with driftwood (photo by John)

Nature’s sculpture

Rocks and seaweed (photo by John)

The two Pencarrow lighthouses and the incoming ferry (photo by John)

We rode beyond the lower lighthouse, and found that there was a new information panel that we hadn’t seen before. It provides details about some of the birds in the area – the dotterel and the oyster catcher – and warns visitors not to disturb these birds’ habitats on the sandy beaches along this part of the coast.

A new information panel (photo by John)

We went as far as the entry to the Porangahau Lakes. The gate was locked, and there was no way to go up there unless you lifted the bikes over the gate. And the road ahead was very sandy, which makes it very skiddy, so we didn’t carry on any further.

We’re not sure what the black framework is or was for, but it makes for a dramatic photo
(photo by John)

When we were on our way back and looked around, back at the lighthouse, we noticed that there was a big tourist bus pulling up at the lighthouse. We think it must have been a tour for people off the enormous cruise ship in port that day, The Ovation of the Seas.

I felt slightly offended at the idea of a tour bus bringing hordes of tourists here

The Ovation of the Seas at the cruise ship terminal in Wellington, on the other side of the harbour
(photo by John)

Such a beautiful coast! (photo by John)

I thought that if we timed it right, we could waltz through the gate behind the bus instead of having to use the stupid bike gate. Then I thought, we should get to the Chocolate Dayz café before the bus disgorged all its passengers for lunch. But they took a long while at the lighthouse – perhaps they had a picnic lunch or something as part of the tour – and when the bus eventually sailed past us as we rode into Days Bay, it didn't even stop there. So we were able to score a table at the café.

After lunch we biked back to Eastbourne, where we had parked, and stopped at the dairy for an ice cream. While we were eating it in the sun, Gordon, a member of the Folding Goldies, stopped by us, and said he had just biked Pencarrow, right up to the end where the big rocks are, using my blog from November 2013 as a guide. It made me feel quite chuffed!

We got home at 2pm, having done 24 km, and I reached well over my 6,500 km on my bike. Yay!