The National Cycleway from Waikanae to Otaki

15 10 2009

We’ll take it that my preferred route for the National Cycleway along the Kapiti Coast follows the Kapiti Coastal Cycle Route and say this little discussion is from the Waikanae River northwards then you’d start by cycling across this bridge from Otaihanga (or walk your bike if there were pedestrians also using the bridge, because we cyclists are, above all, considerate and kind people).

bridge over the Waikanae River closest to the estuary

And once across you’d follow the riverside paths to the estuary and then hit the lakes and, because there aren’t any paths past the first lake, find the Waikanae Beach backstreets are cycle friendly, by being quiet and wide, and you’ll eventually find Paetawa Road past the old shitworks lakes and head to Peka Peka. So far so good. Now look at a map. Here is a little excerpt from an insert on the GWRC’s Kapiti and Porirua Regional Cycling Maps showing the current situation of the state of cycling infrastructure between Waikanae and Otaki. Copyright ignored:

te horo bikeway map

The red is an off road bike path, along Paetawa Road south of Peka Peka it’s a thin gravel path, quite rideable, but I usually end up on the road. And then you can either turn right up Peka Peka Road, but you’ll see it’s only the highway to head further north, and this is 40,000 vehicles a day of a narrow single lane highway. Or you’ll go straight into the new subdivision and work out it’s a dead end, or you’ll turn left and head down to the beach. And see in green it’s even suggested to ride along the beach.

Now if you were a foreign bicycle tourist with a trailer, or you were unfit, or you wanted to use this route to get between your home in Otaki and your job in Waikanae or Paraparam, and if the tide was up, or the sand above the high water was only soft it’s not much of an option. For a one off it’s a fun thing to do. See:

Peka Peka Beach

I cheated and rode my pedelec, and I could fly across the sand at 30 km/hr. If I only used my pedalling I would sink into the sand.

Peka Peka Beach at 30 km/hr

But it gets stony:

Looking south to Kapiti Island

It’s best to avoid the recommendations of the map where if you were to follow the green line you’d ride through the dunes to the end of Te Hapua Road. It’s too sandy to be rideable through the dunes anyways, and I recommend keep riding on the beach north til you get to Te Horo Beach (the creek crossing is trivial). Once in Te Horo Beach head back to the highway on Te Horo Beach Road, and head north on the highway for a short distance as far out of the way of that craziness as you can muster and turn up Te Waka Rd and then back to the highway on Addington Road and then again on the shoulder of the highway over the bridge into Otaki.

Now that is the best way to do it now. It’s not wholly satisfactory. The worst way to do it is up the highway, and it’s not entirely safe. This may change once the 4 lane highway gets built, sometime by 2027, but some alternative routes are going to be given here.

The best route north from Te Horo Beach township if the beach was an option for you would be along the beach, or along Sims Road, up to the river mouth and then along the southern levee along the Otaki River, but you can’t get through because of private property. Drat!!

Another suggestion would be to use the bikeway between Sims Road and Swamp Road, but it doesn’t exist.

Another way entirely would be to come through the Mangaone Walkway from the Reikorangi side, but it’s a nice tramp (made from an old timber tramway so it is flat and well cut and would make a nice bikeway).

If I had a preference it wouldn’t involve the beach or the highway, but none of the routes exist, that’s why I reckon the National Cycleway monies should go in part to looking at the gaps in places like this. It’s the highway or the beach, and there are no quiet parallel roads or suburban streets.

Once in Otaki, over the bridge, head left down the levee bank on the northern side of the river. It’s called the Highway to Sea Walkway or something, but it is a good, easy and scenic ride to Otaki Beach.

North of Otaki you’re stuffed. You could try the Waitohu Valley Road to Manukau, but then you’re stuffed, unless you go down to Waikawa beach, but then you’re stuffed unless you and your bike can swim to head further north along that beach.

Otaki to Levin – who knows, it’s a story for another entry sometime in the distant future.

Other Rides in Te Horo

There are two other rides in Te Horo. One is up to Otaki Forks, about 15km from Otaki. It is generally a quiet road, and the hills are gradual. If you are prepared to lock your bike you can tramp into the hills (and there is a tramping club hut, not too far from the swingbridge). And there is the northern half of the Mangaone Walkway. The southern section is probably best left for trampers only (it’s an easy and pleasant walk), but the northern section is a decent dirt road that just happens to be behind a locked gate.Chuck your bike over and you’re away.

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11 responses

16 10 2009
Cycleways between the Waikanae and Otaki rivers « Keep Kapiti Idiot Free

[...] between the Waikanae and Otaki rivers 16 10 2009 An entry on my other new blog CLICK HERE has a bit about the cycleways between Peka Peka and [...]

4 01 2010
Te Horo Beach to the Otaki Mouth « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] lets be honest). So I thought I’d ride down the beach from Te Horo Beach to Peka Peka Beach. I’ve done it before and it is a good ride, but I got down to the south side of Te Horo Beach village and the moon and [...]

16 01 2011
Waikanae River Paths « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] you can get as far safely as Peka Peka Beach. After that the only safe way heading north is on the beach to Te Horo Beach. There are no real alternatives other than the dangerous SH1. I did so once but not for the [...]

14 05 2011
Cameron Isles

For all intents and purposes, New Zealand cycle tourism doesn’t exist yet. And the 100% Pure NZ line is a fraud.

The percentage of deforestation on North Island isn’t exactly on the scale of, say, Madagascar — but were it to be replicated in a country like China or Brazil in modern times, it would surely attract international condemnation. Livestock freely graze the under-story of many remaining forest remnants, and EU-like regulation to prevent dairy farm effluent contaminating streams and rivers either doesn’t exist or is rarely enforced. Introduced predators like possums and stoats continuously suppress native bird populations — the only native seed spreaders — and the roadsides and private gardens are often littered with non-indigenous vegetation and noxious weeds.

Town planning in New Zealand is also frequently ill thought out and this coastal district is a prime example. Kapiti (which, we were told, means either ‘a place where people come together’ or ‘cabbage’ — the local citizens apparently can’t decide) is undoubtedly beautiful in parts. But its development has come together in a largely ‘laissez faire’ and piecemeal fashion over the years; lacking any central direction or authority. Space for road, rail and electricity corridors hasn’t been reserved well longitudinally and the bisecting transverse roads joining beach communities with their respective townships inland cause frequent conflicts. A veloway is just another longitudinal corridor that hasn’t been allocated proper priority, and rectifying this at a later date is no doubt an expensive proposition.

A shame, certainly, because a proper paved veloway linking the Otaki Gorge, Totara Lagoons and Nga Manu Sanctuary with Queen Elizabeth II park and the Paekakariki Hill lookout would be a world class ride. That is assuming you could somehow mitigate all the rural industrial wasteland, HVDC pylons, big box stores and high-density housing in between, of course.

Cameron Isles,
Woking, UK

10 09 2012
Dany

Hey mate, considering you don’t even live here
(It doesn’t really matter how long your holiday was)
your (sic) being a bit harsh. With the exception of myself, everyone in Kapiti/Horowhenua is a nature freek (sic) and there are so many rules and regulations you can’t even flush your toilet without a permit.

[Homophobic and odd anti-"green" rant editted]

Also, the whole place is pretty much a giant rest home.

E noho rā! (Not that I speak maori).

30 05 2011
Sandhills Motorway cycleway provisions « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] bike. I look forward to safe cycling between Otaki and Waikanae and I’ve only ever ridden it on the beach, or sadly on the highway on a memorial ride. I really wish they’d get their act together on [...]

26 01 2013
Jason

Thanks for this post. I followed your route between Waikanae and Otaki today, after ruling out the highway. Being weekend I had the time – nice ride. Although on the way, I passed police and fire brigade attending a nasty double car head on crash on a bend on Te Horo Beach Road. Sobering.

26 01 2013
Matthew

Did you ride up the beach Jason? If so, was the sand packed well enough for your bike’s tyres?

9 12 2013
Caroline

Thanks for this blog! Very interesting.

Sad to see this post confirms what I had suspected about this particular journey: ie. currently there really is no good option except by car (train=infrequent, bus=infrequent, bike=either harrowing or round the houses on inappropriate surfaces).

Very sad considering how nice the countryside is along here, how Waikanae is so accessible from Wellington and there is the train if you only want a one-way ride or your bike breaks, beaches, lots of little shops for ice cream, chips, probably cake… There is everything you could want from a ride except for a decent route.

Guess i will try the beach then. I will report back on packed-ness of sand (unless i am talked out of it or the weather fails me)…

Thanks again,
Caroline
(London UK & Lower Hutt NZ)

9 12 2013
Matthew

Caroline, I’ve ridden sections of the sand between Peka Peka and Himatangi Beach. It differs in ease. Around Te Horo it is loggy and pebbly. From Foxton Beach north it is fantastic. Waitarere is also good. South of Waikanae the beach would be Ok for Paraparaumu at lowtide, narrows down for Raumati where it would be marginal. South of Paekakariki there is no beach.

13 12 2013
Caroline

Interesting, I might have to go further afield, I have only been as far north as Waitarere…

We rode from Otaki to Waikanae yesterday, on the beach for the section from the cutting at Te Hapua rd to Pekapeka, at around low tide and it was pretty good for riding on sand. Heading south was easier with the wind behind us. You are right, the dunes are inconvenient and you wouldn’t want to chance it with a loaded touring bike.

Cheers

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