Cycling the Rimutaka Cycle Trail
Whilst down in the Wairarapa we just had to fit in the Rimutaka Cycle Trail as it was one of the north island cycle trails we had yet to complete. We based ourselves in Featherston and the plan was to take the train to Petone and cycle back to our Book a Bach in Featherston on day one. But Di's best laid plans went up in flames when we found the trains weren't running over the Xmas/New Years period whilst they did some track maintenance. We were very fortunate to have our hosts in Featherston step up to the plate and volunteer to transport us and our bikes to Petone.
The plan for the day was to cycle from Petone back to Featherston following the Hutt River north from the Petone wharf before picking up the Rimutaka Rail trail at Maymorn. This first section of 36km we cut out in 2.5hrs with the trail predominately travelling along a multipurpose concrete path providing great off road cycling with some nice scenery in the mid to upper portions. From Maymorn the pace slowed a tad as we climbed 150m vertical meters to the Kaitoke Loop road before a quick descent down the tar sealed road to pickup the off-road trail again. We lunched here in the shade as the temperature climbed into the high twenties before competing the 11km ascent to the summit at 380m. The gradient was very manageable as per the diagram so we arrived at the summit station at 1:50pm before enjoying a steep, fast descent to Cross Creek. We were thankful to be riding down this section as the climb was much steeper than the western side and the surface wasn't as smooth. From here it was a road bash back to Featherston which wasn't that enjoyable with the temperature creeping into the low thirties.
The following day we alternated riding while the other drove our car to Ocean Beach. Cycling through a number of groves of native bush sidling Lake Wairarapa provided some shelter from a strong headwind. Once at Ocean Beach we parked the car at the Corner Creek campsite both of us proceeded to ride along the coastal track. The views here were spectacular and the wind had dropped to a pleasant cooling breeze. The only negative was the dry sand that quickly had us pushing our bikes in the worst places but I was enjoying getting off the formed packed trails and sealed roads. After lunch west of the Kotumu Stream shingle fan Di turned around whilst I continued to the roadend at the Orongorongo Lodge enjoying a tail wind once past Turakirae head. The return ride again offered fabulous views of this spectacular coastline which would be my favourite section of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail.