Scenic cycleways in Hawke's Bay

By: Vivienne Haldane, Photography by: Vivienne Haldane

Riding in Hawke's bay Riding in Hawke's bay Riding in Hawke's bay
Trail at Westshore Trail at Westshore Trail at Westshore
Smiths cafe Ahuriri FG Smith’s Eatery, Ahuriri Smiths cafe Ahuriri
Next stop Bayview Next stop, Bayview Next stop Bayview
Hawke's Bay Hawke's Bay Hawke's Bay
The wonderful beaches The wonderful beaches The wonderful beaches
Fishing boat tied up at Ahuriri Fishing boat tied up at Ahuriri Fishing boat tied up at Ahuriri
A limestone trail A limestone trail leads across farmland A limestone trail
Westshore looking to Pandora pond Westshore looking to Pandora pond Westshore looking to Pandora pond
Ocean mural at Perfume Point Ocean mural at Perfume Point Ocean mural at Perfume Point
Pausing to enjoy the views Pausing to enjoy the Westshore Wildlife reserve Pausing to enjoy the views

With 200km of cycleways, Hawke's Bay boasts popular routes that are suitable for every rider

If you don’t have a bike, that’s no problem, as there’s plenty of places with bikes for hire.

Westshore, a seaside suburb near Napier was our starting point and even though our circuit was relatively small, there was lots to see.

We cycled towards Pandora Pond, which skirts the edge of Ahuriri and Westshore. Here you can hire a windsurfer or a kayak and paddle around the calm waters.

At the entrance of Ahuriri Estuary, we met a couple of cyclists all the way from Nelson who had also set out to explore.

The lagoon and surrounding fertile area and forests were a rich source of kaimoana for the Maori who lived there. The lagoon still provides rich pickings for a cluster of birds out on the mud flats left dry by the receding tide.

A towering wall of shipping containers next to the estuary reminded us of the fragile relationship between industry and these wetlands.

Volunteers from the Ahuriri Estuary Protection Society, which was established in 1981, have worked hard to reverse the once wide-held view that wetlands were fit only for reclamation.

The Ahuriri Working Group, which works alongside the society, actively participate in volunteer work such as rubbish removal, weed control, and tree planting.

Along the path, a young family were giving their children a nature study lesson; perhaps these junior conservationists will protect such areas in the future.

We move ahead and make our way beneath the underpass and around the lagoon.

There’s plenty of information about the birds that populate the Westshore Wildlife Reserve nearby.

Ahuriri -Estuary -IMG_0954

It’s a significant habitat for water-loving birds and it’s a good idea to take a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at birds such as royal spoonbills, dabchicks, pied stilt, and white-faced herons.

From here, the trail leads across farmlands grazed by plump sheep and ends up at Church Road in Taradale.

But before we explored further on the track, we parked ourselves at FG Smith’s Eatery in Ahuriri for our lunch break.

It’s a funky industrial-chic place known to serve a delicious fare and we were not isappointed. The eatery directly leads into the trendy Aroha + Friends—a store that has a mix of art and fashion on offer.

We headed back on the cycle trail in Westshore where there’s a concrete gun emplacement along the trail. This was built during WWII to keep an eye out for invaders. 

It may have been in place but no one was on the lookout when, in the summer of 1945, a German U-boat (U-862) slunk into the bay on a reconnaissance mission.

A torpedo intended for a local coastal ship was fired, but thankfully missed, and the U-boat departed, leaving the population oblivious to this threat.

Bayview beckoned in the distance, but we decided to turn back and take our time to admire the curve of the bay and soak up the sun alongside other cyclists and walkers.

Popular rides in Hawke' Bay

  • Wineries Ride: Limestone paths take you across some of Hawke’s Bay’s best inegrowing spots
  • Puketapu Loop: It starts at Awatoto in Napier and ends up in the charming rural village of Puketapu
  • Cape Kidnappers: This ride from Haumoana seaside village takes you along the coast towards Cape Kidnappers, where there’s a world-renowned gannet colony

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