On a recent sunny day, I thought I’d have a bit of a bicycle-based explore north of Otaki. I’d be too scared to ride the verge of State Highway One with it’s 100km/hr plus traffic and it’s narrow bridges, so I thought I’d head north up the Waitohu Valley Road a bit east of the highway.
It’s all very pleasant. The road is quite quiet, with the odd bit of horse traffic. The road itself has only one gentle hill up to the boundary of the Kapiti and Horowhenua districts:
and a nice glide down the other side:
Through the Waitohu Valley is the route I’d advocate for the route north out of Otaki for the National Cycleway. I went for a ride up Corbetts Road. I reckon a new cycle route should be built through the paddocks from the start of Corbetts Road northwards towards the pine forest accessible from North Manakau Road (and onwards to Levin as hinted to in my post Heart of Horowwhenua). I’d put it along the line of the power poles here:
It may be a bit of a difficult exercise to push accessways through the foothills of the Tararuas as the Te Araroa Trail people have found out with uncooperative landowners. The Trust gave up and tried to get a new route through the Oriwa Ridge in the Forest Park instead, but were thwarted by tramping club purists who convinced DOC not to cut a new track, leaving the walking route to go into the high Tararuas via Dracophyllum Hut, a major undertaking. So the National Cycleway here, if pushed through, could happily be a safer route for the Te Araroa trail. If the landowners remain uncooperative then the National Cycleway should be considered to be in the National Interest and pushed through regardless.
I headed down South Manukau Road and on a hunch (and the absence of a No Exit sign) thought there must be a new route through the Manukau Heights subdivision, not yet marked on the road atlases or even Google Maps, into the village. And it was a pretty good guess. A small hill descent dropped me into Manakau village.
It was a bit of a whim to cross the highway and head down to Waikawa. Even the smallest section of State Highway One was enough to remind me of why I don’t like riding along the highway. It’s noisy as.
The road down to the beach is flat until it gets to the dunes:
There are a few baches at the beach, but no shops. The Waikawa Stream enters the sea at a nice little park with a footbridge over. It used to link up with the Ohau River in a lagoon, but an 1855 earthquake changed the course of the stream and drained the lagoon. The beach here is big like a lot of the west coast beaches. If there was any hard packed sand to ride along it was past a lot of soft sand to get there, so I didn’t find out.
Then I turned around and rode the same way back enjoying the clear views of the Tararua Range: