Three days cycling in Central Hawke’s Bay
1-3 September 2022
On the first day of spring 15 keen cyclists drove to Central Hawke’s Bay to do three days’ cycling, based at Waipukurau. This trip had been put on hold during many weeks of adverse weather, until there was a forecast break in the weather that resulted in near perfect conditions. Accommodation was at a premium due to social housing requirements and forestry workers living in the town. Nearly all trip members stayed at the Leopard Hotel, a little noisy but with reasonable rates and a good restaurant. On the first day we cycled 42 km around Hatuma Lake, valued by Māori for its eels, and then on to part of the new Tukituki River cycle trail. On the way a stop was made at the Hatuma Lime Works, founded in 1932, followed by visits to the Lindsay Historic Water Race Tunnel and the Lindsay Bush Reserve. Lindsay Tunnel, approximately 200 m long, was once part of a 10 km long water race that was built in 1870 and became obsolete in 1905. It is still accessible but on the day was damp under foot following recent rain. Lindsay Bush has several walking tracks and some very large trees in a remnant patch of native bush next to the Tukituki River. Signs of flooding were still evident from storms earlier this year when further down the river a modern swing bridge only a few years old was destroyed.
The next day consisted of a longer ride of around 65 km, visiting the small towns of Waipawa, Tikokino and Ongaonga. The Ongaonga Historic Village has the original Forestry Service ‘Broom Hut’ based on the SF70 design, removed from the Ruahine Forest Park near Big Hill Station in 1995. Inside it is fitted out with typical tramping gear of its era. A sneak preview was obtained of the inside of Coles Brothers Builders and Joiners factory, which is being restored and nearing completion, expected to be open soon for public viewing.
On the last day we did a 41 km ride to Ōtāne, a town that used to be one of the largest railheads in the North Island and has an historic Pavement Walk. After checking out the local café we rode the streets, stopping to read the many information panels, covering everything from a soap factory to sale yards. On our return we stopped in Waipawa at the Central Hawke’s Bay Museum, which portrays the life and artefacts of Waipawa and the surrounding district.
The whole trip ran smoothly with no punctures, breakdowns or mishaps, in some great Hawke’s Bay weather. When not out biking in the scenic countryside, the group enjoyed socialising over evening meals.
- Party members
- Robyn and Frank Usmar(leaders and scribe), Frieda Collie, Jean Cookson, Doreen Courtenay, Vera de Graauw, Susan Guscott, Ann Hayman, Geoff Marshall, Jeanette Martin, Jenny Olsen, Neil Parker, Alison Stephenson, Pat and John Tristram