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Great Rides (for under Fives): Onepoto Domain

December 29, 2010

Onepoto Roundabout 3

If you’ve got pre-schoolers just itch’n-to-ride, you want a fun, safe destination to burn-off some of that energy. This is the place to bring them.

The park in Onepoto Basin has plenty to keep everyone amused for a couple of hours with shady picnic-spots, a man-made pond for remote-control yachts, sports-grounds and walking tracks. The public toilets have been rebuilt and without upstaging the nearby cycleway-bridge, are pretty funky in their own right. A pat-on-the-back to the architect that got that design and budget through the red-tape.

For older riders there is a section of singletrack winding through the bush that clings to the crater rim. You can also ride up the grass terraces on the Northern-side eventually emerging on Exmouth Road. Up there you are on the ridge between Onepoto and Tuff Craters where they almost overlap, a reminder of how volatile this area once was.

Onepoto Basin

Onepoto Domain. Just over the harbour bridge at the foot of Onewa Rd.

Some years ago a children’s “bike-park” of sorts was constructed that wound its way around the two (already excellent) playgrounds. There were junctions and intersections put-in mimicking grown-up roads, the idea being to bring your littlies here to teach them about road-rules. Anyone who has rug-rats will realise this was a nobel, but ultimately futile ambition. On that earlier version my sons had a great time racing around attempting to break every rule in the road-code, with considerable success.

Onepoto Boardwalk

No expense spared. It's a top-class facility.

It was now time for little-sister to pay a visit and I found the children’s cycle-paths had been significantly upgraded and extended. There is now a longer path encircling the adjacent meadow with a roundabout, a boardwalk section and simple obstacles like humps in the road to keep it interesting. On the Southern-side you can veer off the main track through a twisty, turny detour before re-joining. All good fun for an old-guy on a singlespeed and the kid was having a ball too.

Onepoto Bike-Racks

Get in quick, the bike-racks fill-up fast.

Most of the tracks are smooth tarseal but there are some stretches of gravel not so suited to scooters or training-wheels. That didn’t seem to slow the children down much and judging by the hoots & hollers around us everyone was having a good time.

Bring some food and drink on a fine day and two or three hours passes in the blink of an eye. It really is a great family destination.

Onepoto Give Way

Managing to stick to the correct side of the road. Glad I got that one on film.

Onepoto Twisties

Negotiating the tightest hairpin on offer.

Onepoto Twisties 2

Give-way? Yeah, Right!

Onepoto Scooter-Jam

Learning to cope with traffic-jams.

Onepoto Run Bike

New friends to meet on two-wheels.

Onepoto Bum

...and plenty of places to bum-around when the bike-bug wears-off.

While you are in the vicinity (assuming you have driven to the Domain) it is well worth riding out of the Domain gates the short distance to Onewa Road and having a look at the Onepoto Cycleway Bridge.

The “cycleway” is only a hundred or so metres long (and doesn’t really lead anywhere apart from Sylvan Avenue and the Domain) but it is surely the most impressive piece of cycling infrastructure in New Zealand, if not the world. Not so much for its utility, more its breathtaking beauty. It’s enchanting, timeless, and blends so well with its environment. A true work of art.

Onepoto Cycleway Bridge

Waves crashing? Whale bones? Whatever, it's simply stunning.

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