Te Henga / Bethells Beach

Day 163, Wednesday 31 January 2018.

On a North Harbour Ulysses ride today, and we decided to go to Te Henga / Bethells Beach for lunch, as they have a temporary cafe which closes at the end of the month. As we approached the beach a sign confirmed the cafe was open Wed-Sun during January. Unfortunately, it appears the cafe decided it wasn’t worth opening on the last day of the month!

We had lunch instead at the nearby Waitakere Golf Club, which does good basic food but only instant coffee.

I had a nice run along Scenic Drive on the way home.

Distance travelled: 113 km. Total distance so far: 21,658 km

Native Tree Cafe

Day 162, Tuesday 30 January 2018.

A very pleasant ride through the southern part of the Hunua Ranges with Auckland Ulysses today, finishing up at the Native Tree Cafe in Mangatarata for lunch.

The temperature has been around 30°C for the last few days. It feels good to be out riding so long as we can keep moving, but as soon as we stop the body armour traps the heat and we swelter.

Distance travelled: 215 km. Total distance so far: 21,545 km

Kelvin Strand

Day 161, Monday 29 January 2018.

I went back to the Te Atatu Peninsula today, to visit the Kelvin Stand and walk across the mangroves to the Whau West Walkway. Kelvin Strand is a reserve at the Northern end of the Te Atatu peninsula, connected by a walking and cycling track across a bridge to the Whau West walkway, part of Te Atatu Walkway. It’s a nice place, with views towards the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbour Bridge, but exposed to full sun with only a few patches of shade. I saw no other walkers, but several cyclists.

Distance travelled: 34 km. Total distance so far: 21,330 km

Raglan coast road

Day 160, Sunday 28 January 2018.

I took the coast road south from Raglan today. It starts as Wainui Road and becomes Whaanga Road. Initially it’s a nice country road winding past some nice beaches, but then it turns to gravel. Up to Te Toto Gorge, the gravel itself is easy, but the road has numerous potholes and corrugations. The views make it worthwhile.

At Te Toto Gorge, there’s a lookout perched on the edge of a cliff with great views over a natural amphitheatre where Māori once farmed. A track leads down to the beach but it takes 30 minutes just to go down, and the combination of a hot day, armoured jeans and motorcycle boots, and a shortage of time, meant I didn’t go down although I was tempted!

For a few km further south, the road surface improves, presumably because it gets less traffic. Patches of deep gravel then appeared with little warning, and soon I was finding the road very unpleasant, fighting to keep the bike upright as it slipped in the gravel. I was surprised the going was so difficult as this was on my adventure bike and I’ve done a lot of gravel on it before without such a fuss. Also, cars on the road left a large amount of dust in the air which I would prefer not to inhale.

After the junction with Tuturimu Road, the road, now called Ruapuke, is sealed, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

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Pictures taken from or near Te Toto Gorge lookout.

Distance travelled: 355 km. Total distance so far: 21,296 km

Ōmeru Scenic Reserve

Day 159, Saturday 27 January 2018.

Auckland Council’s magazine Our Auckland has a ‘Gem of the Month’ article in each issue. The February 2018 issue, just published, stars Ōmeru Scenic Reserve. I’ve ridden past this on State Highway 16 many times without stopping, so today I went to see what it had to offer.

It was quite busy, presumably because of the Our Auckland writeup, and also because this is the first day of the long Auckland Anniversary Weekend. A broad walking track goes from the carpark down a hill and across a bridge. After that it becomes steep and narrow, and ends up being quite a scramble through the bush (especially when you’re wearing motorcycle boots). However, it leads to several very pleasant small waterfalls and swimming holes.

Omeru falls

Waitangi falls

Top photo: Ōmeru falls. Bottom: Waitangi falls.

Distance travelled: 119 km. Total distance so far: 20,941 km

Weona-Westmere Coastal Walkway

Day 158, Friday 26 January 2018.

The Weona-Westmere walkway is a boardwalk winding through mangroves along Western Springs Creek. It’s only been open for about 13 months. I think it’s most scenic at high tide, as when I walked along it today, but I also visited it at low tide when it first opened, and there was a lot of interest on the muddy river bottom not visible in higher water.

Distance travelled: 15 km. Total distance so far: 20,822 km

Cornwall Park

Day 157, Thursday 25 January 2018.

I rode around Cornwall Park today, and stopped at one of my favourite walks, Twin Oak Drive. The road splits in two, with a large central area lined with oak trees and a walking/cycling path down the middle. It’s particularly spectacular during spring with daffodils flowering, but it’s worth visiting at any time of year.

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Distance travelled: 14 km. Total distance so far: 20,807 km

Marsden Cove

Day 156, Wednesday 24 January 2018.

Riding with North Harbour Ulysses today. We went to Marsden Cove marina, between One Tree Point and Marsden Point, across the harbour from Whangarei. It’s a very pleasant spot, with a nice cafe and the sun shining on the water. The area is under development with new housing, and I did notice that there seemed to be as many real estate agent offices as there were other businesses in the area.

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Distance travelled: 321 km. Total distance so far: 20,793 km

Nikau Cave Cafe

Day 155, Tuesday 23 January 2018.

Our Auckland Ulysses ride today went to Nikau Cave Cafe. It was a showery day, but although the roads were wet we managed to dodge any significant rainfall. We had a nice lunch in the sunshine.

After lunch, we found one bike had a flat battery, but were able to start it with jumper leads borrowed from the cafe. On the way we found three Harley riders at a patch of gravel on Highway 22. One had come off due to a pothole, and his bike was being loaded onto a truck.

As we approached Mercer, a heavy shower began and we took shelter. It didn’t last long, so we put our gear back on, said goodbye to each other, and rode off again just as another shower started!

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Distance travelled: 239 km. Total distance so far: 20,472 km

108k service

Day 154, Monday 22 January 2018.

I took my sports-tourer in for its 108,000 km service and new tyres. Poured with rain as I rode and while I brought a loaner bike home, then the day was fine until I went to collect it when it rained again. The bike got a clean bill of health apart from the rear wheel bearings which were replaced.

Distance travelled: 12 km. Total distance so far: 20,233 km