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The Hawke's Bay Trails, which include the Landscapes Ride, the Wineries Ride and the Water Ride, as well as many other connecting paths, now offer over 200 kilometres of cycle trails aimed at cyclists of all abilities. Riders will pass lowland rivers and wetlands and traverse mountainous lookouts with fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Hawke's Bay coastline.
The wine-rich Hawke's Bay region is an excellent place for cycle touring for all levels of ability with the mild climate, bike-friendly terrain, modest winds and a well-defined tourist infrastructure.
The area includes off-road trails around Napier riding out along the Marine Parade to Awatoto-Waitangi and linking via Clive to Havelock North at total of over 30km on a mixture of sealed and gravel pathways. Newly added bike and pedestrian bridges have made this area a wonderfully safe cycling option for the whole family. There are some 30+ vineyards to visit - just don't get too carried away on the tasting!
There are numerous different route options, so study the map and create your own. The three descriptions below offer popular starting points.
Landscapes Ride (56 km)
The Landscapes Ride explores the picturesque coastal communities of Napier, Clive, Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton, which is the entry point for the iconic Cape Kidnappers. Set off from Napier along Marine Parade on flat concrete paths. After crossing the bridge into Clive, easy limestone tracks will take you along to Black Bridge on the Tukituki River. Here you have the option of including in the longer and slightly more challenging Tukituki Loop by heading inland up to Red Bridge, or take the short-cut by crossing the bridge and carrying on along the coast. Cyclists will enjoy spectacular scenery including Te Mata Peak, views of the Pacific Ocean and Cape Kidnappers - home to the world's largest mainland gannet colony.
This trail is relatively flat and provides year-round cycling that will suit most cycling skill levels.
Water Ride (51 km)
The Water Ride is flat, easy and ideal for for families and beginner cyclists. Start from central Napier and head north towards the port and on to the seaside village of Ahuriri with its bustling cafes, shops and bars before cycling north along Westshore. The Ahuriri Estuary is an important refuge for endangered wetland birds. Those keen for a longer ride can then head for Taradale, passing the renowned Church Road and Mission Estate wineries, and then up the Tutaekuri River, below the terraces of the historic Otatara Pa site. At Puketapu Domain, cross the river and head back down the other side. Once back to Taradale, head towards the coast to join Marine Parade for an easy route back to Napier.
There is plenty to learn about local history, endangered wildlife, world class wineries and the bustling seaside precinct of Ahuriri on this ride.
Wineries Ride (33 km)
The Wineries Ride is a relaxed ride in the vicinity of Hastings. The terrain is flat and dotted with numerous award- winning wineries that afford plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. It is a loop, with various suggested detours out to vineyards and other sites worth seeing - you can start wherever is most convenient! From Hastings i-SITE, head out along Herataunga St West until you reach the Wilson Road intersection on the trail. Turn left towards Flaxmere, Bridge Pa and the majority of the local wineries. Consider a brief detour down Maraekakaho Rd to three wineries, or continue on down Ngatarawa where you will find many more. The trail loops around past Roys Hill Reserve and Fernhill before reaching the Ngaruroro River. Follow the banks of the river downstream until you reach the historic, tree-lined Oak avenue which will take you back to your starting point.
As mentioned, the three itineries above are only suggested routes, and if there is ever a trail where you should create your own itinery - this is it! It is arguably the best network of accessible trails in the country.