We met at the Wellington Railway Station and caught the 7:05 am train to Upper Hutt. It was our first experience of the new rail carriages – very smart indeed. We discovered that cyclists have priority over passengers for up 3 bikes per car utilising dedicated fold back seating.
Arriving at 8:00 am we set off to navigate the Rimutaka Rail Trail. The day was perfect with a hint of autumn in the air. We swooped along wide gently sloping old rail-less tracks abbreviated by five dark tunnels (one 583m long) and two restored bridges built around 1876. History is everywhere!
The first of our two punctures interrupted our rhythm for a moment. Then, from the green of the Rail Trail we hit the golden brown drought ravaged countryside of the Wairarapa and passed Cross Creek at 10:40 am. Turning south and with gentle wind assistance we raced along the side of Lake Wairarapa and until we eventually sighted Lake Ferry. The road was straight and long. We arrived at Ocean Beach at 12:20 pm. There are toilets and water (but dry today) at the nearby DOC Corner Creek Campground. Luckily an adjoining bach owner was able to top up our supplies.
The next stage to Orongorongoa Station was a difficult ride or should I say a walk. For about two hours we walked our bikes over sharp edged rocks and scree slides and through sand pits on less than obvious tracks. In my books the grade of the ride rises to 3+ (from 2) five hours into the trip.
The view from the earthquake raised beaches (there are 5 levels) along the coastline is spectacular. The deep blue sea contrasts with the aridness of the preceding ride.
From Orongorongo Station the journey to Days Bay was a hard slog into a northerly wind which got stronger along the Pencarrow coastline. The journey took 1.5 hours. However, our dreams of a craft beer or two at the Cobar were finally fulfilled. We caught the ferry to the waterfront arriving at 5:30 pm.
We travelled 110 kms over an 8 hour elapsed time from Upper Hutt to Days Bay. It was a tough day. A gentle northerly wind is certainly preferable. Any southerly wind would be uncomfortable and not enjoyable. A two day trip camping at Corner Creek is a viable option for most cyclists.
Finally the Rimutaka Cycle Trail has been named one of the world’s hottest travel experiences for 2015 by travel guide Lonely Planet: “Wellingtonians are wont to boast about their beautiful surrounds, from mountains to sea. This new trail shows off some of the best of it.”