Tonight after work, which finished early 🙂 for Xmas Eve, with a bike with fixed spokes on the back of the car and an esteemed colleague’s bike too, we headed around Wellington Harbour past Eastbourne to the end of the road at Burdan’s Gate. Then we wanted to know how far we could get around the coast.
The Great Harbour Way website says it wants to go from Fitzroy Bay in the east to Sinclair Head out near Red Rocks in the west. This bit is out towards the East.
I think we got as far as Fitzroy Bay. We got to the Wainuiomata River. On the way back another cyclist said it was possible to get all the way round to Tora beyond the Cape Palliser Lighthouse and claims to have done it. Maybe.
Land tenure is a bit confusing. We had to pass one “Private Property” sign, but it looked like it was out of place, and then there is a public road beyond or something. It’s all very confusing.
The road is a gravel route open to vehicles by permit only. That means it is traffic free and a bit of a joy to ride. It’s not really rough. (I walked out to the lighthouse and around the lakes once, it took 7 hours).
This is me going south towards the lighthouse:
After that confusing, and possibly out of place, private property sign, and a couple of gates the track gives out towards the Wainuiomata River and we pushed our bikes through the pebbles. here is where we gave up on the bikes:
We crossed the river at its outlet on foot and continued exploring:
and on the way back we decided to bike up the Cameron Ridge Track between Lake Kohangapiripiri and Lake Kohangatera for the fine views. In this picture, that’s Lake Kohangapiripiri in the middle right, and Cook Strait in the far left and Wellington Harbour in the background, and then the Miramar Peninsula (Welly’s eastern suburbs) and the little mountain at the back is Mount Kaukau.
So yes the Great Harbour Way’s vision for this bit of track is great. It is perfectly rideable in its current state (despite the confusing tenure – sorry (a little bit) if we trespassed at all).
If there was a bit of tarmacadam laid for a single tyre width in the gravel road so road bikes could enjoy it too, and if there was a short 500 metre section of new track and a bridge across the Wainuiomata River and it was signposted all the way around to Ocean Beach, then an 80km circular trip of the Hutt River Trail, the Rimutaka Rail Trail, Western Lake Road through the south west Wairarapa and this coastal way would make a great 2 day ride. You could do it now, but you’d be a tough bugger.
All those foreign backpackers rushing through Wellington to get to the ferry and the South Island would have a bloody good ride to stay and do a world class ride near Wellington. It’s pretty damn scenic.