After last night's late arrival, was after 23:00 by the time I got to the motel, I didn't rush to get up. Wandered across the road from the Motel about nine for breakfast at Seashore Cabaret Café. The eggs benedict (with ham) and coffee were good as ever, but the view wasn't up to their usual standard. Although the Petone foreshore was clear last night's fog was still there, masking the harbour.
Today's plan was a ride to Pencarrow Head, hopefully the fog would lift enough to see the view! As it turned out I went a bit further...
Petone to Pencarrow Head
I got En-Trance out as thought might ride some more MTB style trails near the motel tomorrow. It was a lovely warm sunny day by the time I left Foreshore Motor Lodge, about eleven.
Even this late the fog was still lingering; it was responsible for yesterday's ferry delay causing the late arrival into Picton.
The view towards Seaview, Eastbourne and Pencarrow looked clear though!
Incredible to see this so calm and clear. I've abandoned several previous attempts to do this ride due to grim weather.
Wasn't until midday, that Wellington was finally revealed!
Even then, there was still sea fog in the harbour entrance towards Pencarrow.
Pencarrow Coastal Trail
It's road riding to here, after Burdans Gate you join the Pencarrow Coastal Trail.
It's a gravel road, more than trail, would be fine on a gravel bike.
Foggy Ferry leaving Wellington.
Lunchtime rush hour, or making the most of minimal fog?
Pencarrow Coastal Trail looking over to Owhiro, and South Island beyond.
"A low-level lighthouse was commissioned in 1906 due to the problem of the high-level lighthouse being frequently obscured by fog and cloud." (Pencarrow Head Lighthouse - Wikipedia)
This is the end of the public trail, beyond here you must get permission (apparently readily given) but I was going inland and up anyway.
Lake Kohangatera track, Pencarrow Head
The start of Lake Kohangatera track leads inland to a trail with Pencarrow Lighthouse access.
Pencarrow Head Lighthouse at the top of the climb.
Lake Kohangatera, from Pencarrow Head. The trail around the lake itself was closed due to some damaged boardwalks.
A short side trail, off the lighthouse track, takes you to Bluff Point. No problem today but strong warnings about cliffs and not getting blown away!
Pencarrow Head looking towards Lyall Bay & the Airport. Watched several flights have an exceptionally smooth approach to Wellington, which isn't always the case!
Bluebridge's Strait Feronia Ferry, that I was on last night, heading into Cook Strait for the South Island (in the background).
Pencarrow Head & Lighthouse
Pencarrow Lighthouse is up on the head, above its smaller coastal sibling.
Pencarrow Lighthouse with the Mount Kaukau TV Mast in the background. En-Trance's low gearing and traction, from both fat tyres and suspension, was needed for the climb up to the head.
The lighthouse has its own captivating story to tell, for not only was it the country’s first permanent lighthouse, it was also home to its first and only female lighthouse keeper – Mrs Mary Jane Bennett. From 1852, Mary and her husband George operated a light from a window of their cottage at Pencarrow Head, even more isolated than it is today. Life was a real struggle for them and their family, as you might imagine.
George died in a boating accident in 1855, but a pregnant Mary was undeterred from her duty. It was under her watch that Pencarrow Lighthouse was first lit on New Year’s Day 1859, and she stayed on as lighthouse keeper until 1865 raising her six children alone.
Plaque reads: "Here the first permanent lighthouse in New Zealand shone its navigation light from 1 January 1859"
Hard to imagine how tough, and remote, that life would have been on a day like today.
Had to retrace my path past Lake Kohangatera and along the coast.
Cycling along 'The Promenade', Eastbourne.
Neat quirky house tucked into the cliff, Marine Drive, Sorrento Bay
There's a token cycle path but, with the drop-off and light poles mid-lane, you need to concentrate! Thankfully, this is soon to improve as construction of the new Tupua Horo Nuku Eastern Bays shared path was just starting.
It was about three in the afternoon when I got back to Seaview Marina.
Hutt River Trail? Why not!
I passed the end of the Hutt River Trail which follows the river from Lower Hutt to Upper Hutt and is technically part of the Remutaka Trail. Was so nice I decided to ride some of it, see how it went.
'Lunch' and Dueling scribes?
Stopped near Upper Hutt for a snack—cookies and fruit I was carrying—as was late-afternoon and I forgot to have lunch! Thought there might be some cafés on the trail, if there are I hadn't seen them.
While munching I got to read some of the chalked anti and pro COVID vaccination graffiti on the trail. TheBFD is a bullshit mis-information site, a sad NZ attempt at right wing 'news', but 'get d jab' was associated with our official COVID-19 Vaccination campaign.
Quite a variety of riding, from concrete/seal to gravel and even short bush track sections on this trail aimed as much at commuting as tourists.
Some parts you wouldn't know this was a suburban commuter trail.
Maymorn; rail trail start and time to turn around
Maymorn, Upper Hutt, is where the Remutaka Rail Trail starts. When I do it I will ride from here so will be able to claim having ridden the 'Hutt River' and 'Remutaka' trails in full. It is still an active rail station* but there were no trains running so time to ride back.
* The rail trail uses a hill section replaced by a tunnel.
Downstream evening ride
It was a lovely evening ride, on average downhill, but with a few bumps along the way. Today's ride had about 400m climbing overall which isn't much given it was about 80m up to the lighthouse!
A pretty little bridge over the Mangaroa River, Te Marua, Upper Hutt.
Robin's way, Robins Way.
A tiny little sign (on the right in photo below) indicated 'Robins Way'. It's a road underpass, under North Rd (SH2), on the Hutt River Trail at Te Marua, Upper Hutt.
Ride #100, crash #1!
This was ride one hundred since starting this tour and had not yet had a serious fall. Came close a few times, particularly on the Rameka Trail, Takaka where only a sapling saved me, but this benign structure was about to change this.
I stopped here to take a photo, and after a quick circuit around the park set off across the bridge. On the far side due to over-confidence, tiredness, or just stupidity clipped one of the barrier hoops (like below) with my handlebar and ended up flat on my face. It was low speed, just a slight graze on my knee and no bike damage, so could have been worse. Best of all, nobody saw it... I think.
River trails, evening shadows
The evening sun and long shadows made for a silhouette selfie opportunity.
The trail is well marked with regularly spaced direction signs with maps of the trail and surrounding suburbs.
Then hunger won...
It was about six in the evening as I approached Lower Hutt. Decided would be too late to eat by the time I got back, cleaned up and went out again, so went off-trail in search of some dinner.
I rarely have KFC* but riding past one was beyond me. No lunch and over 100km pedalled made that aroma, that I don't normally find at all attractive, irresistible. What is it about exercise that makes your body want fast food?
I cycled past dozens of cars (literally) snaking around the carpark queuing for the drive-through, parked my bike (kudos to KFC Lower Hutt for the bike-stand at the door!), went inside, ordered, and got my 'Deluxe Quarter Pack', and finished eating it before, I reckon, some of the drive-through queue even had their order taken.
* Last time was in Whanganui on my 2019 road/cycle trip!
Spectacular sunset finish
An advantage of the dinner delay was riding the last 7km taking in this wonderful sunset.
What a way to end the day! I had planned to ride the Hutt River Trail tomorrow, do the Remutaka Rail Trail?
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