It’s another sad day today due to the death of another cyclist on a New Zealand State Highway.
And before that happened this morning this story appeared on the same site “Stick to the back roads, advise happy cyclists”.
And everyday that I travel SH1 there are always cyclists on the bit between Paekakariki and Mackay’s Crossing and north to Coastlands. Yet there is another option, going through Queen Elizabeth Park. It can be cycled legally now, when the park is open, but it shuts around dusk. The tracks are good fun. The coastal track is busy with people out for a walk, so isn’t too good for commuter cycling, but on a mountain bike and you’re in no hurry going up and down the dunes and swales it’s fun. The inland track isn’t much better. Think of them more like single track than a regular commute.
Back in 2006 the Greater Wellington Regional Council (They run the park) said that it would like to build a commuter cycleway across the park linking Paekakariki and Raumati South. Today on the way home from work it was such a lovely evening I decided to explore and walk a possible route.
The start from the Paekakariki end could be at the normal southern entrance, and then go up the Wainui Stream track and/or it or could start from Tilley Road. They both meet up here, where a sign says “Horse Track to Mackay’s Crossing.” That’s my first suggestion – that this route be for the commuter cycleway and that a new dedicated horse track parallel it. Horses, if not spooked by cyclists, could use the route too, but I’d like to see it paved so two bikes could ride it side by side, with the gates removed where possible, and with lighting for winter usage. I’d also like to see revegetation schemes line the route too. At the moment it’s all weeds and pasture, and it would have been a wonderful lowland swampy forest not too long ago.
The existing bridge near the start is fine for bikes:
The track largely remains reasonably flat in the swale between these inland dunes:
Looking back the other way. That’s the Wellington-Paraparaumu train all tiny. With the opening of the Raumati Station then it’d be a good day trip to take your bike to Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay or Paekakariki and ride through the park and get back on the train in Raumati, Paraparaumu, or, from 2011, Waikanae.
The biggest hill on the route. It’s not too bad:
The sign at the other end on the Whareroa Beach Road:
And here’s the road. Speed limit 30. Turn left for Whareroa Beach and down to the northern sections of the Coastal or Inland tracks and through to Raumati South, or turn right for the Tram museum and maybe under SH1 to the possible Emerald Glen service road through to Waterfall Road and the backway into Paraparaumu. Or cross the road and follow the yet to be built commuter cycleway onto Poplar Avenue, and maybe the cycle tracks following the soon to be built motorway, or ride along Rosetta Road for a quieter ride) and onto Paraparaumu Beach and the Waikanae River.
I think a 24 hour accessible paved and lit (with solar powered street lamp) commuter cycleway north-south across QE Park would be a great part of the National Cycleway.