Although the GPS tracked 76km this is a 73km ride. I joined the North Western cycle path in Henderson and headed for the city.
Apart from crossing St Lukes road (near Western Springs) you can ride all the way to the ferry terminal without going on the road.
Jumped on the Devonport ferry and a chance to do 3km without turning a pedal. On arrival in Devonport head up the hill and follow Victoria Rd to the Ngataringa cycle path.
I joined the road for a bit, heading back onto the cycle path from Bayswater Rd (beside the cemetery).
Photo: Ferries at Devonport (with Auckland CBD in the background)
I gave Takapuna a miss and stopped at Milford Beach, below, which is nice even when the tide is low. There’s a new pedestrian/cycle bridge near the marina which makes continuing north less of a hassle, no need to double back around the inlet now.
The North Shore is a bit short of cycle paths (those which exist are not well connected) so it was back on the road heading for the west. If you choose the less travelled roads (like Sunset Rd rather than Constellation Drive) the traffic isn’t too bad. You re-join cycle path at Greenhithe to go over the Upper Harbour Bridge to Hobsonville. I remember riding over the original two lane bridge illegally, it had no cycle provision and was closed to bicycles…
West Harbour (below) was my last decent view of the Waitemata Harbour, most of which I’d ridden around on this trip. I had missed a bit as didn’t venture north to Riverhead on this ride.
You can see from the time below this wasn’t a race! It surprises me how the elevation gain, 1346m, around Auckland stacks up as none of the hills seem that high.
This summer’s Tour de France returns to Mont Ventoux, which is the title of an extraordinary Dutch novel, recently translated into English, about six friends and their tragic trip up the infamous mountain
* I haven’t been there, yet, but hope to retrace the wheel tracks of “The Blue Bike”.
Headed South for a ride which had been on my to do list for a while. Although not challenging riding — flattest cycle trail in NZ — the Hauraki Rail Trail was a new way to see some interesting country.
I skipped the Thames section and rode Te Aroha, Paeroa to Waihi return. Most of the route was familiar as it runs alongside state highways but I’d only seen it from the car.
Starting in Te Aroha the trail is flat and straight for about 21km. Wide enough for two abreast riding, or for cyclists to pass, the scenery is not particularly exciting apart from the glimpses of farming life and wildlife. It was a good way to stretch the legs after the two hour drive (but no traffic as everyone in Auckland had already left).
I had good weather, hot 27 ºc and fine… most of the time.
Having driven under this bridge, heading for Tauranga or beyond, many times it was nice to go over it. Take some time to enjoy the scenery before you disappear into it.
At the end of the bridge is one of the highlights of the ride. After the hot summer sun entering this 1km long tunnel was like cycling into air conditioning!
The tunnel is well lit, good enough to cycle without lights if you don’t have them but turning them on helps others see you.
Nice rest stop by the river, below, but would be better without the road on the far side. With my motorist hat on must say the Karangahake Gorge is a wonderful drive, particularly if there is no traffic! I remember going through here in a winter storm and the raging river was close to the road level, the highway closed soon after we had passed through.
Neat to see the bush reclaiming the railway cuttings.
Once at Waihi be sure to cycle through the town centre and up to the Martha Gold Mine. In addition to some mining history there are a great views, and ride’able track around, of the working mine. The Cornish Pumphouse is a relic of past mining right next to the current open cast gold mine.
An interesting ANZAC memorial on the fence overlooking the mine.
A favourite Tonka toy at 1:1 scale
The Victoria Battery, near Waikino, was built in 1896 (that’s old for NZ!). They pioneered use of cyanide to extract gold, a legacy which lingers in places.
No pictures between Waikino and Paeroa as I was riding in torrential rain. Once out of the hills it was dry, dusty bone dry, again apart from my soggy feet. I regretted leaving my “SealSkins” (waterproof socks) in the car that morning!
And back to Te Aroha Station. With the extra distance around Waihi it was 93km in total. Not a hard ride (so flat and no wind!) but an interesting one. Judging by the number of cyclists I saw it’s also a popular one!
Rather than the boring traffic filled haul up SH2 and SH1 motorway I drove home up the the East Coast road. I stopped near Kaiaua for ‘dinner’, with a view over the Firth of Thames towards Coromandel, but others had stopped here to watch (feathered) birds!
Short local loop, some quiet back roads and a bit of bush single track (shared, so not racy) and a section of the Scenic Drive. Just 23km but 600m climbing and a fun tarmac descent down West Coast Rd (max 62 km/h without pedalling!).
A couple of months ago, while browsing a NZ Cycle Touring group on Facebook, I saw a post by Frank about his planned NZ tour. It included a stretch from Queenstown to Te Anau and I, along with several others, recommended crossing the lake and cycling the Von Valley. I’ve ridden several times with Adventure South (~0:13:00 in the video) and, although gravel road, it is a nice alternative the busy main highway.
Over the past month or so I have been enjoying following his travels via his “Frank By Bike” page and now there’s an awesome video recap. It has been a great way to re-live some cycling I’ve done—most of his South Island route but on much easier supported tours!—and see a few North Island rides I’ve yet to do.
The Rimutaka cycle trail, Urewera National Park Rd and Karangahake Gorge trails look well worth investigating. Thanks for sharing your ride Frank, makes me want to get out there again!
PS: Frank seems to to have purchased most of his riding/camping gear from Torpedo7 and it was great to see their Queenstown store were quick to repair his bike after it was damaged by a transit bus operator! (~0:11:00 in video). Franks video is a pretty good demonstration of their tagline: “See you out there!”.
It was cool to find my photos being used to promote some great Hauraki Gulf Island walks—although I was (legally) cycling when I took them—on the Department of Conservation website. They discovered them on my Flickr site and thought worth sharing.
I remember the chaos, friendly smiling faces and warmth (both physical from the humid air and emotional from the people) of this little one street town. It was quite a contrast to the authoritarian atmosphere we’d just experienced at the Tibetan border.
Kodari clings to the mountainside between shear cliffs and a roaring river.
The images bellow are from a BBC news report tonight (05/17/2015). Kodari was near the centre of the quake aftershock and has been destroyed. It is abandoned, as the threat from damaged buildings and unstable hills is just too great. They said the Chinese Army had crossed the border to help with the recovery, then showed diggers attempting to move rocks the size of buildings.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there during this, nowhere to run, and how many were injured or killed. There was no mention of that — just that many had fled to the hills — and no reports at all how Zhangmu, a similar town over the border in Tibet, had fared. Horrific.