Karekare and Piha

Day 212, Wednesday 21 March 2018

I rode to Karekare and Piha beaches with North Harbour Ulysses today. Some of us walked to Karekare Falls from the carpark, and posed for a photo. Lunch was at Piha Store, next door to the cafe we usually eat at. The Store has expanded their range of food since last time I was there, and has a large dining room which suits a moderately large group.

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Distance travelled: 107 km. Total distance so far: 28,304 km

Clevedon

Day 211, Tuesday 20 March 2018

Clevedon is the main town of the Hunua Ranges. It isn’t a big place, and there’s nothing in the town centre which I’m interested in, but there are a couple of cheap eating places. Clevedon’s attraction for motorcyclists are the roads around it.

To the south is Memorial Road, which becomes Sky High Road which climbs into the Hunua Ranges giving great views.

To the northwest is West Road, climbing through a smaller range to Brookby, with Whitford beyond. An alternative route to Brookby is Twilight Road which runs through the same range but is more twisty. Twilight used to be the road most motorcyclists preferred, but a couple of years ago major roadworks started on the winding parts. When I rode it today, there are still roadworks, but they’re now on straight parts of the road, and the winding parts have a good smooth surface.

North Road runs northeast around the range to Maraetai with its nice beach and upmarket cafes.

I rode all these roads today.

East of northeast, the Clevedon-Kawakawa Road winds through countryside to Kawakawa Bay, with the beautiful Waitawa Regional Park on the way. Southwest, the Papakura-Clevedon Road is the exception; it is relatively uninteresting.

There are other roads I haven’t yet tried; the Ness Valley Road which runs east, with Mamourkai Hill Road going off it into the Hunua Ranges Regional Park. That turns to gravel and looks worthy of exploration. McNicol Road runs southeast and turns to gravel. It leads to Wairoa Gorge Scenic Reserve which has tramping tracks. Otau Mountain Road runs off it and into the regional park. Google Streetview doesn’t cover the gravel parts of these roads, so I clearly need to take my adventure bike into this area and leave no trail unridden!

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Distance travelled: 140 km. Total distance so far: 28,197 km

Pakuranga Stream

Day 210, Monday 19 March 2018

Today I explored a stream running between Smales Road and Ti Rakau Drive in East Tamaki. The stream becomes Pakuranga Stream, but I’m not sure what it’s called at the place I was. There’s a reserve surrounding the stream, but most of the way along the stream isn’t visible because there is dense foliage along its sides, and where there are paths they are at some distance from the water.

I walked along the western side, along Kelvin Hart Drive and then into Greenmount Reserve. My progress was blocked by a large commercial establishment, so I came back to Guys Road and followed a path along the eastern side. After a little while, that path turned off to a road, leaving me crossing grass which was muddy in places and with the occasional pong of sewage. The stream, previously broad, was now in a narrow concrete channel I could step across. When I got to Ti Rakau Drive I came back on the eastern side, but between Matarangi Road and Kellaway Drive I had only a narrow strip of sloping grass to follow because of a huge apartment complex fenced off from the stream.

The area is densely housed, with a mix of apartment complexes and rows of identical houses on very small sections. There were several park benches along the sides of the stream, but I thought the Auckland Council would make this green space more attractive for local people by adding proper paths, and some facilities for children to play.

Distance travelled: 45 km. Total distance so far: 28,057 km

Inland Road

Day 209, Sunday 18 March 2018

I joined a North Harbour Ulysses ride today, described as a “scenic tour” from Albany to Helensville. I was hoping it would introduce me to roads I had not taken before. Most of the ride was on familiar roads, but we took Inland Road off Old North Road, then Rautawhiri Road down to Helensville, with nice views. I see that Inland Road carries on and connects to State Highway 16 a little north of Helensville, turning to gravel for much of that part, so I’ll have to try that sometime.

Distance travelled: 108 km. Total distance so far: 28,012 km

Lime Tree Cafe

Day 208, Saturday 17 March 2018

The Auckland branch of Ulysses has a coffee morning once a month, alternating between two cafes. Today we went to the Lime Tree Cafe in Whitford, which is down a bank near the roundabout.

I understand that the cafe was once a dwelling, and the building across the carpark from it a boatshed owned by the same people. A tributary of Turanga Creek running past gives access to the Waitemata Harbour.

The cafe provides good food and good coffee, and especially on the fine day like today, when we can sit outside, it’s a lovely place to meet up with friends.

Distance travelled: 66 km. Total distance so far: 27,904 km

Lucas Creek

Day 207, Friday 16 March 2018

I went north of Auckland today to an area once known as Okahukura or Kaipatiki. It was renamed Lucas Creek in 1845 after a flax trader called Daniel Lucas (or possibly Clucas), who bought land around the creek, but abandoned it a year later and presumably left the country.

A shopkeeper called Michael Phillips bought land in Lucas Creek in 1863, and established a butcher shop, bakery, and gum store. Gumdiggers would come here to sell their gum and buy supplies. The creek would have been used for boat transport of goods to the Waitemata Harbour.

By 1889 this was a major fruit growing area, with apples and pears exported to Britain. Grapes and lemons were also grown. The following year, the name changed to Albany.

Now the orchards are long gone. Lucas Creek is an unprepossessing stream with malodorous mud along its banks. Kell Reserve runs south along the creek, with numerous branching walkways and bridges across the creek.  North of Dairy Flat Road is Gills Reserve, which I will explore at a later date.

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Distance travelled: 45 km. Total distance so far: 27,838 km

Russell

Day 206, Thursday 15 March 2018

I was up before dawn this morning to catch the vehicle ferry from Opua to answer some questions for the Northern Odyssey at Okiato and Russell.

Our group made its way south from Paihia via the Waimate Mission Station and Kaikohe and down the Twin Bridges road (State Highway 15), which is always a lovely road to ride. We visited Whangarei Falls, the Marsden Point Oil refinery, Mangawhai Heads, and Goat island, finishing the Odyssey at Puhoi.

It was an excellent route, as all the Odyssies have been, and our group of Aucklanders got on well with each other and all enjoyed the ride.

Distance travelled: 424 km. Total distance so far: 27,793 km

Cape Reinga

Day 205, Wednesday 14 March 2018

I left Kaitaia at 8 this morning and rode up to Cape Reinga on empty roads, enjoying the curves and the scenery. Coming back there was a little bit of traffic but nothing held me up. The rest of the day was riding through lovely Northland towns and countryside: Mangonui with its buildings on piles over the water, Whataroa with its volcanic outcrops, Kerikeri with the historic Stone Store, and Paihia with its view over the Bay of Islands.

Distance travelled: 364 km. Total distance so far: 27,369 km

Kaitaia

Day 204, Tuesday 13 March 2018

Day 2 of the Northern Odyssey. We had pleasant weather and mostly empty roads as we rode from Dargaville through the Waipoua Forest and the Hokianga to end at Kaitaia. The roads north of the Hokianga are pretty munted, but that just adds to the interest.

When I bought petrol in Kaitaia, I was asked to remove my helmet for the first time in my motorcycling career. All petrol stations have signs prohibiting the wearing of helmets but none have enforced this previously. Police presence is strong. This seems to be a town in pain. On the other hand, one of my companions inadvertently left his keys in his bike when we visited the local supermarket today, and nothing untoward happened. Dial down the paranoia!

Distance travelled: 207 km. Total distance so far: 27,005 km

Cyclone Hola

Day 203, Monday 12 March 2018.

I’m riding on the Northern Odyssey for the next few days with a group of Ulyssians from the Auckland and North Harbour branches. The Northern Odyssey is a ride organised by Waikato Ulysses where we have to answer trivia questions about our location at points along the route. This year the route goes from Auckland up to Cape Reinga and back.

Today we rode from Auckland to Dargaville, taking many detours along the way. As Cyclone Hola is over Northland, it rained from late morning on, but the rain was not as heavy as earlier forecasts predicted, and the wind was less strong. By tomorrow the storm will have moved on and we can enjoy the rest of our ride in good weather.

Distance travelled: 360 km. Total distance so far: 26,798 km