Day 47, Saturday 7 October 2017
I went exploring the gravel roads north of Auckland today. I was hoping to find some routes on sealed roads that I could lead group rides over, as an alternative to Old North Road and State Highway 16. I did a similar exploration at the end of last month.
First I took Ararimu Valley Road which goes off Old North Road. It starts off as a nice country road, but then turns to gravel with lots of corrugations. At the point it turns into Bald Hill Road there’s Valley Road going off to the side, and although there’s a “No exit” sign my GPS suggested I go down it. Valley Road was a normal gravel road for the first few dozen metres, then became a very rough road with deep wheel ruts on each side and a small hump in the middle. A few dozen metres further on, it became a farm track covered in grass so I couldn’t tell what the surface was like. If I’d been with other riders I might have gone on, but being on my own without someone to help if I got stuck, I chose to go back. Bald Hill Road and Ireland Road were gravel roads in reasonable condition, and they brought me out at Kahikatea Flat Road, one of the major roads connecting State Highway 1 and State Highway 16.
I then took Haruru Road and Makarau Road from Wainui to SH 16. Initially Haruru was a sealed country road with some tight corners, and I thought this would be a great road to take a group ride over, but it turned to gravel. It was easy gravel, but I would get complaints if I took my usual group over it. Haruru is tenth on the priority list of Auckland Transport roads to seal, so this may change, but they would have to seal Makarau as well, and that’s much lower on the list.
I went a little way up SH 16 and took Kaipara Hills Road (requires login) to Kaipara Flats. This is a moderately rough gravel road with some nice views. It would have been in dense pine forest until recently, but now it is mostly bare land with a few cattle grazing.
From Kaipara Flats I took Old Woodcocks Road south. There’s a trial of several methods of reducing dust by Auckland Transport on this road. It’s an easy gravel road. Then, Ahuroa Road – a good-to-average gravel road, high priority for sealing – took me to Puhoi, and the motorway brought me back to Auckland from there.
Photo: Kaipara Hills Road
Distance travelled: 177 km. Total distance so far: 6765 km