If you’re in Auckland, you have a couple of hours spare, you want to ride a good mixture of challenging tight corners and sweeping bends, enjoying coastal and rural rides, and places to stop to meet new people and old friends, this is the ride for you.
From anywhere in Auckland, find your way to Whitford and Maraetai. Stop for a great coffee at the Maraetai Wharf Cafe and talk to owner Tony Sykes (you’ll see one of his bikes, a blue Honda Fury parked outside).
Continue around the Pohutukawa Coast to Clevedon and then head out to Kawakawa Bay. This section has beautiful sweeping corners and only a few tight ones. After Kawakawa Bay you turn inland through a bush reserve. This is a series of tight bends which will test your riding skills. Watch out for a very tight left-hander which tightens without warning. You then unravel through the Orere Valley farmland then a few hills before you start to drop down (not the bike, please) towards the Firth of Thames coastline.
On a clear day and blue skies, it is quite a sight to look over the bay toward the Coromandel Mountains in the distance. We’ll leave riding there to another day, and look at our other posts for more about this.
Pretty soon you arrive at Kaiaua on the coast – time to stop for lunch at the Kaiaua Fisheries Cafe which has consistently good fresh seafood.
It’s very popular and there is always a lot of customers and a bit of a queue for your order, but it’s worth the wait. Most times there will be a few bikes too, although the Kaiaua pub next door also is well patronised. Most people sit outside on the BBQ tables – a bit of a tradition here.
When you’re ready, turn inland at the petrol station and head towards Mangatawhiri and turn north towards Hunua. You don’t need to use State Highway 2.
The Hunua Valley is iconically beautiful as you follow sparkling streams, lush green farmland with the backdrop of the dark bush-clad Hunua Range.
After you leave the Hunua Hills, make your way down Sky High Road to Clevedon Village. This road has some fantastic left and right tight sweepers which shouldn’t be taken for granted. A final refreshment in Clevedon or over the hill at The General Store in Whitford is a good time to review the ride with your friends before making your way back to Auckland. Around 160 km, depending on where you start from.