During the 2015 New Years extended weekend we had the opportunity to ride part of the soon to be completed (hopefully) Twin Coast Cycleway. Accompanied by our friends Euon & Samantha from the UK we rode one and half of the five sections. On picking up two hire bikes from Ray at Top Trail Hire & Tour in Kaikohe we learned that a 14km section from Okaihau west to Horeke Rd was completed and able to be used though not officially opened. This new section provided us with the opportunity for a good 50km+ return trip on a fabulous blue sky day. We left the car at Top Trails, picked some extra drinks up at Kaikohe before starting out on the trail at the western end of Kiakohe. The section through to Okaihau follows the disused railway the whole way and has plenty of information boards along the route. As you climbed higher there were great views of the surrounding countryside and out to the coast. A good track surface and gentle incline had our group of four at the entrance to the rail tunnel at the highest point of this section in next to no time. Out the other side and a fabulous downhill with a few excellent sidetracks for those looking for a little extra. The cafe in Okaihau provided us with the excuse to get in some shade for a while and enjoy a great lunch.

Euon and I decided to continue on and check the new section of track that reportedly was the best of the whole trail while Di and Sam returned to do a 6km section to the east of Kiakohe. After following the road west for a few kms we moved on to a few farm access tracks before breaking out onto a newly formed track that zig zagged down a steep drop to the valley floor a hundred meters below. By the time we got to the bottom we had big smiles on our dials which got even bigger as we started following a well graded track beside the river. No doubt this will be one of the highlights of the trip for those that enjoy a few more twists and turns than a railway trail can offer. Conscious that we had to meet back up with Di & Sam at Top Trails we turned around reluctantly after 10 of the 14kms and returned back up the trail. We had a bit of a head of steam up by the time we completed the climb up the zig zags. We promptly emptied our water bottles while catching our breath in the shade of some welcome trees. After a quick stop in Okaihau for some cool drinks we quickly laid waste to the climb up to the top and had a laugh with some riders coming the other way through the tunnel when we made train whistle noises. The tar was sticking to our tyres as we rode thru Kaikohe and then made our way up Te Pua road to Top Trail. This new section of trail beside the river provides a good contrast to the railway based trail and provides plenty of riverside picnic opportunities. TO BE RECOMMENDED! The plan is to return to finish the unridden sections once the trail is fully completed.