Location - Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Distance - 33 km round trip.
Terrain - Flat, easy, crushed limestone path. Separated cycle path for most of the way, except Oak Avenue (Ormond Rd) and Omahu Rd (shortcut only).
Difficulty - Easy
Highlights - Lunch in the sunshine at one of the wineries.
Map and website - Download the Hawke's Bay Trails Map here.
The Wineries Ride is the reason we keep coming back to Hawke's Bay. I could pretend we are drawn by the beautiful Art Deco, the stunning Street Art or the great views along the coastal cycle path but truth be told it is the wineries - not so much for the actual wine as for sitting in the sunshine enjoying a pleasant lunch knowing we don't have to feel guilty about the calories. There is nothing like a longish cycle before lunch to assuage the calorie guilt. Actually the calories and guilt thing is me. I don't think David ever felt guilty about a calorie in his life, he just likes the area.
David and I have done a lot of wine region cycling on our travels. I hate to break it to you, but it can be over-rated. Wineries tend to be long distances apart - sometimes long, hilly, distances. Good cycle paths are few and far between, and often the roads don't allow a lot of room for cars and cyclists to mix, especially cars driven by designated non-drivers who have failed to take their responsibilities to stay sober quite literally enough.
The Hawke's Bay Wineries Trail however is an exception. The trail is flat, easy to cycle and mostly off-road. There is only one small hair-raising stretch and the wineries are close enough together to break up the ride into easy stages. Like the National Aquarium to Bay View ride which I wrote about last week, this is a great trail for cycling novices.
|Grapes on the vine.|
The wineries ride is a loop. You can start anywhere. The map I have created shows a gap which isn't there. No matter how hard I tried I could not persuade Google Maps to connect point A with the little bicycle icon to the east. You'll just have to trust me on this, it is a Google glitch - there is no gap! Google - are you listening?
As I have drawn it, the ride is about 33 km. If you include side trips to Roys Hill and Silent Estates Wineries add another 10 or 12 kms. The side trips are shown on the Hawke's Bay Trails map. If you shortcut across Omahu Rd you can cut the distance down to about 24 km. Be warned however, there is no separated cycle path on Omahu Rd.
|Oak Avenue - it looks serene but the lack of a bicycle lane made this one stretch a bit hair-raising.|
The wineries are all on the western side of the loop allowing you to shortcut along Omahu Rd and not miss any of them. A few require short detours from the main route. Headed south-west from the Ngaruroro River they are: -
- Unison Vineyard and Cafe
- Stonecroft Wines
- Trinity Hill Winery
- Te Awa Winery
- Ashridge Wines
- Ngatarawa Wines
- Abbey Cellars
- Alpha Domus Winery
- Sileni Estates
- CJ Pask Winery
David and I had lunch (twice) at Te Awa. It was nothing short of divine. Actually come to think of it, we ate there three times - once in 2015 and twice in 2017. The food was good, the service was friendly, the sun was shining and from where we started each time it was at about the mid-way point on the ride. What more can you want?
|Outside tables at Te Awa Winery.|
We parked our car at the north-east end of Ormond Rd in the lane leading to the embankment along the Ngaguroro River, but there is no shortage of on-street parking along the route.
|The embankment along the Ngaruroro River|
Bike Hire -
On Yer Bike rent bikes from 2543 State Hwy 50, Roys Hill. Good Fun Bike Rides has closed down its depot at Bridge PA on the Wineries Trail and now operates exclusively from Revolution Bikes at Havelock North.
|I had to include this photo. These boxes solved the mystery of what kind of fruit trees we were cycling past.|
My Tips -
- Most of the wineries are on the western side of the loop. You can take the shortcut along Omahu Rd and not miss any of them.
- Book ahead for lunch, especially if you will be there on the weekend. Chances are you will still get a table but why take the risk that a bus tour full of people might arrive just ahead of you.
- Because this is a loop ride you will ride into the wind for at least some of the time. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
- Leave plenty of time. You can cycle the whole loop in a couple of hours but if you set aside most of the day you'll have time to enjoy a leisurely winery lunch and call in at lots of cellar doors. Come back the next day in a car to collect your purchases!
Other trails we have cycled in New Zealand -
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