Weekend Trip - Friday 9 June 2017 to Sunday 11 June 2017 (3 days)
On a fine winter's morning bikes were loaded onto the trailer and us into the shuttle van to travel from Kaikohe to Opua to start the trail. We were a little early in Opua, as we were meeting the train from Kawakawa at 11.15am at Taumarere Station 7kms along the trail from Opua, so a tour of Opua waterfront and then into the café for coffee before starting the trail.
The trail from Opua to Taumarere is through colourful swamp, mangrove estuary, a disused rail tunnel and across a very long curved disused rail bridge. Four of our team took the train into Kawakawa, the feedback "It was well worth the 4km train ride which included an excellent commentary on local history". Lunch and explore of Kawakawa including a visit to Hundertwasser public toilets.
Onwards ever so slightly uphill all the way to Kaikohe ,30kms plus 3kms to The Cowshed camp mostly through farmland and some forested areas. Across two of the original railway bridges used as part of the trail which added to the ambience of the trail.
Saturday evening we dined at Kaikohe RSA with a ale to finish off the day!
Sunday back into town to start our second day of the trail. Again ever so slightly uphill for 14kms to Okaihau where we took a break at the local café.
That section of trail was through a disused rail tunnel and alongside scenic Lake Omapere. Along the way we took the time to read all the local history and heritage signs, which made the trail so interesting.
From Okaihau off downhill to Utakura valley which ran all the way to Horeke, on the backwaters of Hokianga harbour. 25kms. Horeke many years ago had a population of several thousand people. We enjoyed lunch at Horeke Tavern in an idyllic spot on the water's edge.
Another 3kms brought us to the end of the trail at Mangungu Mission Station steeped in local history. Once more bikes were loaded onto the trailer and us into the shuttle van to travel back to Kaikohe. The fun filled weekend was at an end.
Team: Catherine Doyle, Kathy Engelbrecht, Deb Payne, Allen Small, Simon Bucherer, Donald Finlayson, Margaret Law (organiser and scribe), Ali Waugh, Feiyan Zhong, Natasha Hulston, Tina and Lindsay Jacques.