Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hawkes Bay Cycle Trails

To get away for a break around Easter, we decided to head for Napier, and cycle the bike trails of the Hawkes Bay region. At Christmas I got a book "New Zealand Cycle Trails - Nga Haerenga" by Jonathan Kennett, and we decided to load the bikes into the back of the car and check it out.

This is an overview of the tracks recorded on my phone using Tracks. The terrain is flat, and biking is on paved trails, limed tracks and on stop banks.

Accommodation at the Quest

Napier is around 400KM from Auckland and we elected to stop over in Taupo on the way down. Next day we checked into the Quest in Napier for the week which is located in Dickens St, close to the main shopping area of Napier. There is secure parking for car and bikes, and being a serviced apartment, cooking and washing facilities. The position is good for access to the rides, and great for dinner and shopping when not in the saddle.

Day 1 - Water Ride North

Once settled we jumped on our bikes and headed out for the first ride, across the wetlands that rose from the bay in Hawkes Bays 1931 earthquake.

Northern Water Path - 30.8 km, 2:32 hrs.

This was a good (easy) way to start the riding, and a good introduction to the terrain. I had purchased a phone holder for my Samsung S5 (waterproof came in handy) and the first big bump, the phone flew off and skated across the road. Undamaged thank goodness, as I have also got a fairly chunky rubber case for it. Subsequently I installed a band of black elastic to hold it in place. We discovered that the wind rises in the afternoon - but it was not too bad. What a lovely place to bike!

Dinner at Kilim, middle-eastern.

Day 2 - To Clifton and Back

Our first big ride was down to Clifton, the most southerly part of our trip, where there is a cafe and a beach to sit on for lunch.

Napier-Clifton-Napier - 83.5 km, 6:45 hrs.

Day 2 was a long day, but the weather was holding, and although we struggled with 'bum-fatigue' it wasn't too bad. We took the long way home through Taradale and stopped for a beer at the port on the way back - well deserved! It had been hard work earlier in the day when we got to Clifton to find that the cafe was closed, and our morning coffee would have to wait until we were back in Clive, 15KM back up the road.

Dinner at the Indonesian Restaurant. We had vegetarian and seafood Rijsttafel - amazing.

Day 3 - The Wineries

Bums and legs somewhat repaired, and amazed that we had done the same distance as cycling from Taupo to Rotorua, we headed out for the wineries trail. This starts about 20KM from Napier, but all accessible by trail.

Napier - Wineries - Napier - 80.5 km, 6:26 hrs.

If Day 2 was cycling like Taupo - Rotorua, then Day 3 we were going to do it again. And the weather wasn't looking too good - but luckily we only had a drop or two of brief rain during the day. No coat required ;-) We bought some wine and cheese along the way.

Dinner was the spoils of the day including some dukkah butter from the Salvare Estate cellar door, and an early night.

Day 4 - Rained and we drove about

The rain finally came, so we took a rest day. This also allowed us to get out further afield in the car, and explore the area. We had great coffee in Havelock North, and we discovered the Arataki Bee Centre. Back in Napier Viv found me a music shop, and I bought a Cry Baby (wah wah pedal). Following the visit to the Museum to see the earthquake video, we headed for Italian restaurant for dinner.

Day 5 - Puketapu

The rain abated and we took on the Puketapu trail.

Puketapu Loop - 59.5 km, 5:13 hrs.

This was our last trail for the trip, and had an unexpected and welcome twist - we found a walnut tree - or actually several in a little grove near Puketapu. We filled our bags with nuts (after opening we had 900g of walnut meat).

If we had to do it all again, I'd be ready tomorrow!