Nothing quite beats a day of sunshine in New Zealand – the cicadas hum endlessly in among the foliage, Pohutakawa trees blossom bright red as the landscape seems to glisten and roll into various layers of beauty. It is the perfect opportunity to go exploring on two wheels! While staying with my sister and her family I have discovered that they are all just as keen to go for a cycle. Cycling has become a shared family experience and they are loving it!
With us all squashed into the car and the bicycles tied to the roof rack we drive north out of Auckland city to the coastal town of Orewa to ride along the “Te Ara Tahuna” estuary cycleway. This cycleway winds its way around the peaceful Orewa estuary and ends up along the sandy hibiscus coast. With my three-year old niece strapped into the back of my sister’s bike and my nephew astride his trailer bike we begin the ride. We pedal past the glowing red Pohutakawa trees which sit alongside the calm waters of the quiet estuary.
We twist and turn along the trail and come to a lengthy bridge that guides us over the water away from the houses of Orewa and across to the swampy marshes. As we skirt the edges of the estuary my eyes are constantly drawn to the beauty of the water as it sits like glass.
Clusters of spiky cabbage trees protrude up out of the murky depths of the swamp. Red beaked Pukekos stretch their spindly long legs through the waters looking for tasty treats. Greedy mangroves swamp the corners of the estuary as we head inland and pedal up a small hill through tawny brown pastures of grassy farmland.
The grass soon gives way to overgrown bush crowding our view of the sky above. The cicadas are like an audience cheering us on with their constant song. I play a game of chase with my nephew as we freewheel down hill with the breeze rushing through our hair – he squeals with delight at the sound of my bicycle coming up from behind and he shouts with gusto ahead ” GO FASTER DAD, GO FASTER! “.
At the far end of the estuary the surrounds are quiet and deserted so we decide to stop. The children have a run about in a local school playground . After a few climbs on the monkey bars and a lot of swooping on the swings we are back on board the bicycles pedalling again.
Cycling over a few more bridges we head back towards Orewa township. The cycleway weaves in and around lines of colourful flowers and beautifully manicured gardens. Like lights on a christmas tree the glow of the Pohutakawa flowers guide us to the end of the cycleway.
We finally spin our wheels along the busy coast road to a popular ice cream shop were we treat ourselves to the sweet taste of hokey pokey ice cream – Everyone is happy! We end the summer day with a stop at a sandy beach to jump tiny waves and dig for shellfish.