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).
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:
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:
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.
But it gets stony:
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.