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Great Rides: Orewa – Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway

April 3, 2012
Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway

Start from the carpark just over the bridge at the southern end.

If I was asked one more time “have you ridden the new bike path in Orewa?” I was going to hurt somebody, so I hit Google instead and tried to glean some information on this new facility. Despite the cycleway opening in December 2011 (and no doubt costing millions of dollars) there was virtually nothing online to be found. There’s an out-of-date page on the old Rodney Council website and a couple of small write-ups but that was about it. No choice then, I packed-up the kids and headed north to have a look for myself.

Starting-out from the southern end.

Nice views riding clockwise on the southern side.

It wasn’t hard to find, turn off the motorway at Silverdale and head towards Orewa. After crossing the bridge at the southern end of town turn into the (free) carpark where KFC used to be and you’re good to go. There’s even a public toilet on hand for those little bladders stretched to capacity on the half hour drive.

This is the part where you may agree with my wife that my brain is wired “differently” to most folks, because I thought it entirely logical to start riding in a clockwise direction. So logical in-fact I did it again on a return visit.

First bridge we came to.

Thing One, Thing Two & Thing Three crossing the first of many bridges.

It’s not logical apparently. Everyone, yes absolutely EVERYONE (every, single, sodding, one) I have spoken to since did it anti-clockwise! So there you go, I accept defeat. Unless you are mentally-challenged or possess a stubborn streak of individualism so strong it can’t be ignored you should ride it anti-clockwise. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a local bylaw.

The first section (traveling anti-clockwise, obviously) follows the Millennium Walkway past the skate-ramp, through Western Reserve and onto the first bridge. If I didn’t have a wiring defect that would be the photo above, but you’ll have to scroll-down to the end to see the correct one. From this point on I’m not even going to try coordinating the text with my photos because it’s just getting confusing – I’m so easily confused.

The Arran Point section, cutting through Millwater Estate.

The Arran Point section, cutting through Millwater Estate.

The map on the plinth says it’s a 7.58 kilometre round trip (9.34 kilometres if you zig-zag like my children). Don’t let that put you off if you’re not the fittest kid-on-the-block or are new to cycling, the terrain is fairly flat with just a couple of small inclines. My five year old coped on a heavy BMX with no gears so you’ll be just fine. Ride at a (very) leisurely pace and it will probably take an hour, but it pays to take your time anyway and enjoy the scenery.

I don’t need your attitude, I’ve got my own.

Taking a break on the road bridge at the halfway point.

The path is wide with a nice smooth surface and marked with a centerline where it needs to be. There are a couple of gravel sections but they are in good nick and quite ridable, just take it easy on the brakes and you’ll have no trouble, even on narrow tyres.

Carrying a drink and a snack for the younger riders is probably a good idea, they tend to tire by the halfway point. A packet of snakes did the trick for me as you can see in the photo above.

The “Long Bridge”. Kids love bridges.

The “Long Bridge”. My kids loved the riding the bridges.

We encountered many fellow cyclists and even more walkers, but it never seemed crowded, plenty of room for everyone if you show some courtesy.

All in all it was pleasant family outing and really safe riding for the little ones. For the most part you can relax as you are completely separated from traffic. It’s only when riding through the Millwater subdivision (the cycleway is on the footpath) that you are in sight of a road, and that’s my only criticism. It would be great if the path followed the waters edge the whole way.

We had a great morning and finished-up with a picnic overlooking the estuary at Western Reserve.


Through the twisties on the northern shores.

Although visitors would see this as recreational infrastructure I spoke to a few locals and the cycleway is really handy for cruising to the shops or down to the beach. Much like the Green Route between Takapuna and Devonport it’s also a conduit between neighbouring suburbs. How cool is that? People getting around by foot or bike because it’s convenient. Someone had vision when they thought this one up.

Lots of houses to look into as you ride. No one showering today.

You get kind of close to the locals in places.

Last bridge before the skate-park.

Crossing over to Western Reserve and the skate-park.

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway Map

Dismount on the road bridge footpath? I don’t think so.


Liked it enough to go back on my unicycle.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. marty permalink
    December 23, 2012 3:28 pm

    Rode up to Orewa today and didn’t want to ride up the Silverdale hill so cut through the shops and went down to the school and rode the cycle way to Orewa, enjoy it that much on our return we rode the back half of it back to the school .Thats one nice ride even at speed ,got to take the kid and other half up there now .

    • December 24, 2012 10:47 am

      I didn’t realise it was all connected-up, not familiar with the area. I might try that next time with the kids: turn-off at Silverdale and start the loop from Millwater Parkway. That means we could get ice-creams at the half-way point!

  2. Mardie permalink
    January 9, 2013 2:30 pm

    Hi there we have an event that is both walking & cycling on Sunday 3 March along the Te Ara Tahuna Walkway in Orewa and wondered if you would be interested in advertising on your website. We would love to encourage more families to join us for our event which is also held on Children’s Day. Thanks, you can contact me on

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