Cycling trip: Ruakokoputuna Road-Blue Rock Road
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The Wairarapa has so many potential biking trips on back roads with minimal traffic. Last year a TTC tramping group drove into the Haurangi area via Ruakokoputuna Road to climb Mt Ross and I made a mental note that it would be wonderful to cycle up the valley. Many Wairarapa venues do not allow for a round trip, but the advantage of a route that is not circular is that you can go as far as you like and return at any point, with the added interest of seeing a different view on the way back. It also means that it can be a range of grades so that a sub-group can go at their own pace and choose their own distance.
We stopped off at Martinborough on the way in for coffees and muffins, which Don insisted were essential to get him kick-started for the day. Even before 9.30 a.m. the local cafes were doing a roaring trade, but the service was quick and the coffee was very good.
Jellicoe Street out of Martinborough morphs into Lake Ferry Road, from which you take a hard left just out of town to get on to White Rock Road. It was less than 20 minutes before we reached the turn off into Ruakokoputuna Road and good parking, ready to head off at 10.15.
Ruakokoputuna Road is a reasonable width and mostly unsealed and has some weatherboard sections – mostly near the start – but it is good cycling. We were passed by a large truck early on, then only the occasional vehicle. It rises and falls, with some uphill puffing required and then there are glorious downhill stretches.
Blue Rock Road was our first objective as there used to be a farm advertising visits to glow-worm caves for a small donation. The sign has gone but I went to the farmhouse and said we were from the Tararua Tramping Club and would respect the land and stock if we could pay a donation to visit and was given permission. There is a pleasant ride in of about a kilometre, which took us to a beautiful refreshment stop where some of us waded through the caves and spotted some glow-worms. The limestone structures in the area were impressive, including a massive hole that the river must once have been big enough to roar through.
Back along Blue Rock Road and we were heading off on Ruakokoputuna Road again for about 40 minues before finding a charming late lunch spot. At this stage we were pretty hot from a longish climb up and voted to continue just to the top of the road before returning to our start point
The big whiz back downhill was great fun, followed by a bit more puffing and whizzing until we got back to the cars around 2.30 p.m. It had been a very pleasant day with picturesque scenery and not too strenuous exercise. Ice creams at Featherston were very welcome, the dairy at Featherston must surely have the biggest, cheapest single cone icecreams on the planet.
- Party members
- Mike Arnold, Christine Batt, Mark Collinge, Marg Conal (leader and scribe), Don Crump, Sylvia Dixon, and Geoff Marshall.