What is a Frocknic you ask? If you haven’t been keeping up with Wellington bicycle culture, Frockers are cyclists who believe that bicycles and stylish clothing belong together, and when they have a picnic, it’s a Frocknic.
Pencarrow head from Fitzroy Bay
The Frocks on Bikes picnic is going to make it’s stylish way along leg 2 of the Great Harbour Way/ Te Aranui o Pōneke, from Days Bay to Pencarrow head, on Sunday 15 January. Check the website for timing and RSVP details. Rumour is that at least one regional mayor will be on the ride.
Greater Wellington Regional Council have published the final version of the Hutt Corridor Plan. This includes fixing the Petone – Ngauranga gap as a high priority. Good news is that proposed changes to the rail line could be done in conjunction with upgrading the cycling/walking track “providing an improved width along the existing walk/cycle path on the SH2 side of the rail between Ngauranga and Horokiwi – or developing a shared, sealed pathway on the seaward side of the rail from Ngauranga to Horokiwi and on to Petone (that could also be utilised for rail maintenance vehicles when required)”
This is good news, particularly if a seaward side route is chosen, which would be far more attractive, and in keeping with the aims of Te Aranui o Pōneke/ Great Harbour Way.
Te Araroa’s Geoff Chapple speaking at opening, with GG Jerry Mateparae and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.
There are a number of trails that intersect with Te Aranui o Pōneke/ Great Harbour Way: for example the Hutt River Trail that connects from the GHW to Rimutakas.
Saturday 3 December saw the formal opening of the longest of the trails that meets the GHW – Te Araroa, the “long pathway” connecting Cape Reinga to Bluff, which meets the GHW at Island Bay’s Shorland Park. This is the beginning/end of Te Araroa’s North Island trail (the Te Araroa map shows a blue line heading off across Cook Strait, suggesting a rather ambitious and tide dependent kayak trip!).
Several hundred walkers and sympathisers rolled up at Shorland Park. Being Wellington, it was a moot point as to whether the coffee cart or the sausage sizzle did the best business. The Army band played stirring trekking music (I didn’t actually hear “It’s a long way to Tipperary” but it could have been in the repertoire). Waitakere’s Bob Harvey MC’d the proceedings, which included Te Araroa’s Geoff Chapple and Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown. By teleconference we heard from Far North’s Wayne Brown, on 90 mile beach with his surfboard; and Invercargill’s Tim Shadbolt, typically quick off the mark that he had to be interrupted so the band could do their introductory drum roll.
Governor General Jerry Mateparae (isn’t it nice to have a GG that can pronounce te reo naturally?) was obviously keen to make his role in opening the trail more than a formality. He was appropriately dressed in walking gear, so that after the speeches and tree planting he could lead walkers off on the first stage of Te Araroa towards Tawatawa ridge.
So next time you’re contemplating a trip on the GHW, think about incorporating Te Araroa into it. One option might be to start biking from Aro Valley (we don’t do commercials here, but Aro Valley has a selection of excellent cafes to start/recover at), head down to the waterfront, bike around the GHW to Island bay, then walk back along Te Araroa to where it meets Aro Street at Epuni St.
One of the nicest parts of the GHW/ Te Aranui o Pōneke is the Miramar Peninsula. The northern tip, Watts Peninsula or Te Motu Kairangi, has been in Defence Force hands since the “Russian scare” of the 1880s, but is no longer required. It’s been recently announced that the land will become a public park which is a great outcome for Te Aranui o Pōneke. Particulary encouraging is the suggestion that it could be like Stanley Park, which is one of the major tourist drawcards in Vancouver, with a great cycling and walking path around it. The photo shows people enjoying the great cycling and walking path around the park – maybe what we could have on the Miramar Peninsula one day?
yclists and walkers in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Lobster Loos on the Waterfront
These rather elegant designer lavatories made their appearance on the Waterfront just north of Queens Wharf, filling a much needed “gap” in the facilities along the Great Harbour Way. There’s been some comment about their cost (rather more than a “bog standard” loo) but they certainly add a point of interest. They’re very spacious inside – in fact I’m wondering if any itinerate RWC fans have used them as overnight accomodation – there’s a sleeping bench big enough for a shortish fan, and of course en-suite facilities!