Waipukurau cycling trip
11-13 October 2023
On Wednesday morning nine cyclists drove to Waipukurau to meet at lunch time for an afternoon ride. After a short delay for electric car replenishment at Woodville, we had lunch and departed for a local ride of 34 km around Lake Hatuma and a stop at Hatuma Lime Works. We had a briefing on the limestone products, with mention of the controversy about whether lime is an organic product, or not. Timing was crucial to get back, as a thunderstorm with heavy rain was looming.
On return, with everyone still dry, we settled into the Leopard Hotel, named after a bygone brand of beer. Soon after, the skies let rip with thunder, lightning, heavy rain and some hail. We gathered for pre-dinner drinks, followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant. Most considered the meal menu could be recommended for its quality and reasonable prices.
Next day was an adventurous ride of approximately 70 km taking in the towns of Waipawa for morning tea, Tikokino for lunch and Ongaonga for afternoon refreshments from the historical General Store. Ongaonga, known for the water pumps needed by its residents to access water in bores and wells, and of course as the name of a very irritating native plant, has an interesting open-air
museum containing the historic Broom Hut, an SF70 design.
At the end of the day’s riding a forensic search in the grass was carried out after a bike mirror was lost. The ‘needle’ in the grass was skilfully found after a line search.
In the early evening, we took a relaxed 10-minute stroll down the main street of Waipukurau to the Copper Pot Restaurant, where we enjoyed another relaxed evening of excellent food and convivial conversation.
On the final day we rode another circular, 54km route to Otane and Patangata. Otane is a secluded town off State Highway 2 with a history of being a railway terminus until the line was extended through to Hastings and Napier. Its history is well signposted outside historical buildings and at other locations in the township.
The next stop was for lunch at Patangata Tavern, an idyllic spot situated next to a long one-lane bridge over the Tukituki River. Its displays of bygone artifacts provided talking points on rural history of the area.
Most roads were usually quiet, but we made two crossings of State Highway 2 where there was usually a steady stream of traffic. Twice we made use of the new cycleway that runs between Waipukurau and Waipawa. Apart from the noise of the traffic, it is well protected from the road, making cycling much more pleasant. Evidence of damage from Cyclone Gabrielle was apparent, and included the destruction of a foot/cycle bridge in the local area.
Apart from a threatening shower on the first day, the Weather Gods provided excellent cycling weather.
- Party members
- Robyn and Frank Usmar (leaders and scribe), Peter Archer, Kwai Chan, Jean Cookson, Frieda Collie, Julia Fraser, Hank Schouten, Leena Stowell