Off the beaten track: cycling gems in the Western Bay
Just like that it’s almost February and Bike Month again.
Bike month is part of Travel Safe, and it celebrates all things cycling for the month of February.
This year we’re highlighting five pedal-worthy trails, that are sure to get your heart rate up. And as always, there’s something for everyone.
But first – why cycling?
Cycleways, footpaths, parks and reserves all help people to feel like they belong in their community, giving them a place to connect and stay active. That’s something we’re all for, so we’re doing the mahi to create more bike friendly environments.
Our ultimate goal is to get more people safely cycling (and walking!) around the district. Fun fact: when people start cycling for fun they often end up commuting by bike too– a win for the environment and mental and physical health.
Over the next four weeks we hope you’ll get the whānau or some mates together, chuck on your helmets and get pedalling. Here’s a few suggestions to get you going.
Beach hopping: Bowentown to Waihī Beach
This flat 9km trip is a gem for locals and tourists.
Start at Anzac Bay, Bowentown or Waihī Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.
You’ll cycle flat terrain, through coastal, harbour and wetland environments. Expect a mix of sealed, boardwalk and gravel surfaces along the way.
Cool idea: stop at the beach and take a dip along the way.
Urban chic-cycling: Katikati town cycle trails
Katikati has a wheelie good network of trails that show off the towns art, birdlife and river and harbourside environments.
Check out the three short rides:
Option 1. Haiku Path to Henry Road.
Less than 5km, start and finish at Haiku Park.
The trail follows the river stopbank, then goes through a charming Katikati neighbourhood. Stop to enjoy some art near the 45m suspension bridge over the Uretara Stream.
Hot tip: look for boulders engraved with haiku poems.
Option 2. Bird Walk Trail - Summerset walkway and cycleway.
A ride of 5.8km return (depending on your route), starting and finishing at the Uretara Stream boat ramp, Noble Johnston Drive.
Enjoy the paths that go through wetland environments and past ocean vistas. Take in the art and read up on the area’s bird life.
Option 3. Uretara Stream to Beach Road.
A loop trail of about 11km also starting from Uretara Stream boat ramp, Noble Johnston Drive.
This longer ride includes a mixture of urban and rural roads, concrete pathways, grass reserves, gravel, orchard tractor tracks, and native bush.
Check out the maps online.
downhill mountain biking
At 360 Thompsons Track, Katikati you’ll find the brand new Waitekohekohe Recreation Park MTB carpark. Here a small network of mountain bike trails have been organised and built by the community for you to enjoy (or if you prefer four legs over two wheels, the horse trails begin from the main carpark at 250 Thompsons Track). Some of the trails are shared with walkers whereas the rest are exclusive for biking (or horse-riding) only.
The MTB trails are graded as one, two, three and four. All can be ridden in an hour. The two, three and four are downhill trails and riders need to use forestry trails to go back to the top, or use an uphill track (grade three i.e., brace yourself).
More info on their website
Town to country: Papamoa to Paengaroa
Over 20kms of cycle trail running from the end of Bell Road in Papamoa following the Tauranga Eastern Link, then along the Te Puke Highway into Paengaroa Village.
The trail is shrouded by planted natives, and goes over the Kaituna River bridge passing by beautifully carved pouwhenua. More info online.
Bonus extension: From Paengaroa, carefully navigate country roads to Maketu. On the way into town the trail opens up onto a concrete surface shared-use trail suitable for the kids.
Commuters fave: Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway
Update: The part of the cycleway that goes along Te Puna Station Road is closed due to slips from the recent wet weather.
Monday to Friday this 19km cycleway is a commuters favourite. But on weekends the ride you’ll find people meandering along at a leisurely speed.
The trail includes beautiful boardwalks that protect our stunning wetland and coastal environments, gorgeous river crossings, and charming country trails. This trail has a little bit of everything and is long enough to tucker you out.
Check out the details online.
Of course these are just a small selection of great cycling opportunities available in the Western Bay. There’s plenty more where they came from.
Visit westernbay.govt.nz/cycle-trails to find out more.