Pencarrow Lighthouses and Parangarahu Lakes

One of the best of many coastal cycles in New Zealand’s capital, this four hour return cycle from Eastbourne takes in history, natural beauty, and some good exercise heading up the hillside, though much of it is flat along by water.

The 83 bus took me from the CBD around the bay, through Petone, out to Eastbourne, where it was a short walk to the Bike Shed Pencarrow. It took me past the memorial to the 1968 Wahine Disaster, in which 51 people lost their lives when the inter island Wahine ferry sank in a terrible storm. A sobering start to the day.

The mostly smooth track follows the coastline out toward to the Pencarrow Heads. On my way out the huge Ovation of the Seas cruise ship was on it’s way into town. It’s apparently the fifth largest cruise ship in the world by weight.

There are actually two Pencarrow Lighthouses, the original on top of the hill, and a second one built to provide coverage when the first is obscured by fog.

Past the first lighthouse I headed inland round by the tranquil and beautiful Lake Kohangapiripiri.

It was a bit of a climb / push to get up to the original Pencarrow Lighthouse, but well worth it for the views, both across the harbour, and inland over gorse covered landscape. The lighthouse provided some welcome shade in which to have lunch.

The Interislander ferry on it’s way from Picton, at the top of the South Island, cruised on by below.

Bluff Point Lookout was worth the effort to get to.

Heading back down the hill I went around Lake Kohangapiripiri, which turned into lush green wetlands, before getting hilly again on the other side.

These offered the best views of the day, looking back over Lake Kohangapiripiri toward the lighthouses and harbour, plus Lake Kohangatera the other way.

Final surprise for the was the evocative remains of the S.S. Paiaka, recovered as a memorial to the shipwrecks and lives lost along this stretch of coast.

From here it was a flat and direct return to civilisation.

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