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Favourite rides around the Western Bay

Monday, February 4, 2019

We're lucky to have some fabulous places to go riding here in the Bay of Plenty. To help you get out on some pedal powered adventures, our Cycling Coordinator Andrew Thorpe has put together a details of his favourite rides around the Tauranga region.

One of the best things that happened to me in recent times was to be asked to lead a recreational bike riding group. I got to meet a lot of like-minded people; people that are motivated to get outdoors, get active and stay healthy. And the challenge of leading the group on an interesting bike ride each week meant that I had to go out looking for all the best rides in Tauranga and the Western Bay. We're lucky to have some fabulous places to go riding. Here's a few of my favourites.

All of these are "shared pathways" which means you’ll meet a few friendly walkers and if you’re lucky their even-friendlier dogs. So 'Share With Care' and ring your bell!

Kopurererua Valley

There are over 20 kms of trails in the valley now, and you don’t have to go near a public road. The valley floor is flat however the trail that goes past the BMX park on the western side has a few ups and downs. But you have to poke your nose over there because the new bridge over Takitumu Drive is spectacular!

The surface is generally (but not always!) excellent, graded with fine gravel. You can park and start riding at the Historic Village, the end of Faulkner St, Marshall Ave or the BMX park. Great for a family outing or go hard if you want.

Kopurererua Valley map

View the Kopurererua Valley ride on MapMyRide

Papamoa, Wairakei Reserve

This is actually the Papamoa stormwater retention system, cunningly disguised as an up-market housing estate set amongst lakes. The ride has an excellent well graded surface and it’s like riding through a landscaped park - lovely.

It's a great family ride although there are quite a few road crossings so you need to keep an eye on the little guys.

Start pretty much anywhere but there is lots of good parking at the Gordon Spratt Reserve on Parton Rd. The prettiest part stretches between Parton Rd and Pacific View Rd and this part is around 14 kms return. If you want to, you can go all the way to far east Papamoa if you ride up Simpson Rd and this makes 24 kms all up.

Papamoa ride map

View the Papamoa, Wairakei Reserve ride on MapMyRide

Carmichael Reserve

For a short ride on some nice boardwalks through wetlands, park your car at the playground on Carmichael Road. You can ride the loop for 2 kms or try all the trails for around 8 kms. If you’re feeling adventurous you can ride out to Windsor Rd and over to the Matua Saltmarsh - but I’ll tell you more about that next time.

Carmichael Reserve

View the Carmichael Reserve ride on MapMyRide

Waikareao Estuary

For me this is the jewel in the crown of Tauranga cycle paths. It’s a lovely mix of bush trails, boardwalks and wetlands with views over the sparkling waters of the estuary.

The complete loop is around 9 kms and there are no roads to cross although you will ride on the path alongside Chapel St.

To be fair, on the eastern side the trail runs alongside Takitimu Drive and it's a bit exposed and noisy, but you don’t have to do that bit if you don’t want to. I still enjoy it! The complete loop is around 9 kms or you can do a there-and-back on the western side. Plenty of parking and nice cafes in Bay Central near Briscoes.

Waikareao Estuary ride map

View the Waikareao Estuary ride on MapMyRide

So there you go, just a taster of some of the great places to ride around the Western Bay.. So get out there and enjoy yourself!

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