Muriwai beach

Day 283, Thursday 31 May 2018

I rode to Muriwai today. Normally the focus at Muriwai is on the view from Waitea Road, or the gannet colony. Today I focussed on the beach.

The beach runs for 50 km north from the southern access point at Motutara Road. Black sand comes from an old eruption (20 or so million years ago) of the Kaipara volcano, offshore of where the Kaipara heads now are. The beach is mostly firm sand, and can be driven on in 4WD vehicles or adventure/trail bikes, but a permit is required. I was on my sport-touring bike today, so I was not tempted to go onto the beach.

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Distance travelled: 89 km. Total distance so far: 37,080 km

Tinopai

Day 282, Wednesday 30 May 2018

I joined North Harbour Ulysses today on a ride to Tinopai, a coastal settlement south of Matakohe. The road there is all sealed and winds through pleasant countryside. The settlement is charming although there are few facilities. There used to be a general store, but that is now closed and up for sale. Kaipara Harbour was looking very tranquil today. We went back to Matakohe for lunch.

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Distance travelled: 332 km. Total distance so far: 36,991 km

Poutō

Day 281, Tuesday 29 May 2018

We rode down the Poutō peninsula from Dargaville this morning to Poutō Point, with 45 km of winding sealed roads through pleasant countryside, then 15 km of unsealed roads in good condition, and finally 10 km of difficult gravel road. We would like to have ridden to the lighthouse, but that was not practical due to the high tide and soft sand at the entrance to the beach. On the way back up the peninsula we detoured to Kellys Bay, a lovely spot on the eastern side with huge numbers of oystercatchers and dotterels (birds) nesting.

On the way back to Auckland we went exploring on the gravel roads south of Mangaturoto, and found Otamatea, with a nice beach, a picturesque church, and a marae.

Top left photo: Poutō Point. Top right: Kellys Bay birds. Bottom: Otamatea church.

Distance travelled: 366 km. Total distance so far: 36,659 km

Baylys beach

Day 280, Monday 28 May 2018

At Baylys Beach, west of Dargaville, with some friends on a gravel/sand-oriented ride. The highlight of the day was riding up the beach from Baylys, reaching areas with no sign of humanity other than tyre tracks.

First photo: Cup of tea on the side of the road. Second photo: on the beach near Omamari.

Distance travelled: 282 km. Total distance so far: 36,293 km

Mangere Bridge(s)

Day 279, Sunday 27 May 2018

I parked at the south end of the Old Mangere Bridge today and walked across it. I used to cross this bridge frequently before the new bridge opened beside it in 1983. I’ve given little thought to the old bridge since then, but I knew it was still being used by cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge is due to be replaced by a new pedestrian/cycle bridge in the near future.

I walked back along the pedestrian path over the new Mangere Bridge. My timing was fortuitous, as it rained quite heavily while I was in this sheltered area.

Top left photo: The new bridge. Top right: The new bridge’s pedestrian walkway. Bottom: Old Mangere Bridge.

Distance travelled: 31 km. Total distance so far: 36,011 km

Orewa beach

Day 278, Saturday 26 May 2018

Orewa has a nice sandy beach about three kilometres long. I would have thought that swimming was safe, but there’s a life saving team on duty during summer, with swimming between the flags only. The northern end of the beach has houses at the edge of the beach. The southern end has a reserve with pohutukawa trees providing shade, and at the extreme south is a holiday park (campground). It was a cold day with a threat of rain, but many people were strolling along the beach, some with dogs, and I saw a couple of surfers.

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Distance travelled: 83 km. Total distance so far: 35,980 km

Cornwallis Wharf

Day 277, Friday 25 May 2018

I rode to Cornwallis today, and wandered along the wharf which runs into the Manukau Harbour. There’s been a wharf here since the 1920s, when the harbour would have been the main transport route into Auckland as the roads would have been hard going. In 1954 the wharf was in poor condition, and parts were demolished and the timber used to strengthen the remainder. In 1998 it was replaced by the current wharf. Every time I’ve been to Cornwallis, there has been a cluster of fishers at the end of the wharf. Sometimes I’ve seen fish in the clear water below.

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Distance travelled: 55 km. Total distance so far: 35,897 km

Maungawhau / Mount Eden

Day 276, Thursday 24 May 2018

I rode to the Maungawhau volcanic cone today, in the Auckland suburb of Mount Eden. The summit was open to vehicles until about two and a half years ago, but now it’s a pedestrian and bicycle-only zone. I started walking along the old access road which winds around the cone in a clockwise direction. As I reached the easternmost part of the road, a set of steps went down to Glenfell Place, and on the other side of the road, headed up towards the summit. These might be new as I haven’t noticed them before, so I followed them and found they took me to the summit much more quickly than the access road.

Maungawhau gives great views over Auckland, and there were substantial numbers of people at the summit including several busloads of Chinese tourists and a school party. The summit area is large enough to take these people without being at all crowded. I appreciated the absence of buses and cars at the top.

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Distance travelled: 8 km. Total distance so far: 35,842 km

North/West meeting points

Day 275, Wednesday 23 May 2018

Today was raining persistently, and although I went to the North Harbour Ulysses mid-week meeting point, I was the only one to turn up on a bike, which was not a surprise to me.

We meet on Wednesdays at the Hollywood Bakery on Maki St, which is just north of the Northwest Shopping Centre in a block with Briscoes and Harvey Norman. We chose this place to meet about a year ago. It’s handy to both the Northwest Motorway and Upper Harbour Highway, so it’s easy to get to. There’s a large carpark which is never busy mid-week. The cafe is good, reasonably priced, tolerates us, and sells a range of food such as sandwiches and filled rolls should we decide to have an impromptu picnic. There’s also a sushi place next door for takeaway food. There are public toilets next to the cafe, so no one feels under any obligation to order at the cafe so they can use the facilities. It’s also easy for a large group of motorcycles to pull out from the carpark without getting separated by traffic. In short, it’s a good meeting place, though there is one flaw; it’s a little difficult to explain to people exactly how to get there. It’s at least partly because we have this comfortable meeting place that we have a great social time and people turn up even when they aren’t planning to ride with us.

Before we started using this place, we met at Mews Cafe at 65 Paul Matthews Road, Rosedale, at the other end of the Upper Harbour Highway. It was also handy to two motorways (the other being the Northern Motorway), but the cafe and carpark were smaller and busier, and getting out of the carpark was increasingly difficult as the road became very busy, so we were often split into many smaller groups as we left.

Ulysses also uses the Dairy Flat Autobahn as a meeting point for some Sunday rides. This is a good meeting point, similar to the Papakura Autobahn the Tuesday rides use, but it is suitable only for rides going north, with rides going west disadvantaged by the starting position.

The other place on the North Shore used for a meeting point is the covered Warehouse carpark at Albany, across from the McDonalds. Meeting in the carpark gives shelter from the weather, but doesn’t have a lot of other advantages. Coffee/food can be purchased from McDonalds, and they don’t object to us using their toilets, but it isn’t as comfortable as sitting around in a cafe. The traffic lights leaving the carpark have a short cycle, so rides are often split up when leaving.

Some other motorcycle clubs meet occasionally at Z Energy at Westgate, but the forecourt has little space for bikes, and there’s nowhere to sit.

I covered the common meeting places in South Auckland in a previous post.

Distance travelled: 40 km. Total distance so far: 35,834 km

Big Bay

Day 274, Tuesday 22 May 2018

I took today’s Auckland Ulysses ride up the Awhitu peninsula to Big Bay today. Showers were pending, but they held off until just before we reached our destination at the northern end of the peninsula. We sheltered in Big Bay for ten or fifteen minutes until the shower finished. There wasn’t much point in going to the beach. We rode back to Waiuku for lunch with a rainbow visible in front of us for most of the way.

Distance travelled: 213 km. Total distance so far: 35,794 km