The new cycle trail – Kaikōkopu - between Paengaroa and Okere opened on the 5th of June, marking an important milestone in the national cycleway network and providing cyclists with more links to Bay of Plenty townships.
The cycleway was opened by Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber and Rotorua Lakes Mayor Steve Chadwick, along with representatives from New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), local iwi Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Makino, Bay of Plenty Charitable Trails Trust and the Paengaroa community.
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber says the Western Bay offers some beautiful scenic country for cyclists but there are also busy state highway that pose dangers for cycling.
“To have completed this important link in the trail provides a safe escape from one of the most dangerous stretches of SH33 and gives cyclists the opportunity to take in the scenery of our coastline and countryside.
“This project is a great example of collaboration between our Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, the Tauranga Trails Trust, the Paengaroa business community and NZTA. It is a proud moment for everyone involved.”
Rotorua Lakes District Council Mayor Steve Chadwick says the link offers a trail network into the Rotorua District from north, south, east and west and is adding to propositions from the coast to the volcanic plateau through its tourism and community platforms.
“NZTA support has been most appreciated for connecting safe, fun and family friendly trails to create the settings for more people to cycle more often. We already have the best mountain biking facility in New Zealand and we’re working closely with Western Bay to connect our trail proposition into the Eastern Bay of Plenty as well as the Waikato and Taupo districts.”
The $180,000 trail has been funded by NZTA signifying its importance as a safe link for cyclists to avoid using SH33.
NZTA Acting Director of Regional Relationships, Ross I’Anson, says it’s great to have worked with stakeholders to complete the much needed safety link for cyclists using SH33.
The section that has recently been constructed and is opening today is the six-kilometre gravel surface section through Roydon Downs Reserve which connects Western Bay and Rotorua Lakes districts. The project is a joint effort supported by Western Bay of Plenty District Council, the Trails Trust, local iwi and the Department of Conservation.
The completed link through the reserve is a gravel surface for about three kilometres and forms part of the Tauranga-Rotorua Cycle trail. Ultimately it will be part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network. The completed link extends the existing cycling journey between Papamoa and Paengaroa to Rotorua.
About this trail:
The name of the trail Kaikōkopu is aligned with the original name of the land block in Roydon Downs Reserve as well as the importance of the indigenous fish in the waterways and swamps from the Lakes District through the volcanic plateau and its many waterways to the sea.
The return journey from Paengaroa to Okere Falls is about 62km (four hours you are dreaming if you think this is 3 hours for a normal biker) or approximately 12 km from Ridge Road Reserve to Okere Falls (30 minutes).
A suggested initial ride for fitter rides who like riding uphill is to start from Paengaroa, get picked up by car at the Okere Falls Store and driven back to Paengaroa.
There are several cafes at Paengaroa including a café at Comvita (which has a toilet)
Toilets at the playground of Paengaroa Domain just south of the Gull Service Station (over SH33 by the playing fields)
This is a country ride of varied terrain and includes native bush, kiwifruit orchards, farms, lake and sea views
The trail surface comprises 17 kms of sealed low traffic volume roads, 900m along SH33 between Maniatutu Road and Okere Road at Okere Falls, 10 km of gravel surface local roads, 3 km of new trail through bush and pine forest.
Ride can start at Paengaroa, or at Ridge Rd Reserve carpark for a shorter ride.
A good parking area is outside Paengaroa Community Hall, 4 Old Coach Road
Or follow the directions to Ridge Rd below where you can park at the beginning of the Ridge Road Reserve, at the end of the no exit road
The trail when commenced at Okere Falls rises and falls. One-way rides are easier if starting at Okere Falls and finishing at Paengaroa – as there is more downhill riding this way.