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Cycling from Kohatu to Stoke

Cycling from Kohatu to Stoke, 46.5 km

If taking a passenger shuttle transfer to Kohatu, the cycling back to Stoke on the Rail Route is virtually all down hill. Highlights include the Spooners Tunnel, the scenic heritage landscape including views of hop gardens and the winery area between Brightwater and Stoke.

Kohatu to Norris Gully, 7 km
Kohatu is a tiny settlement, marked by an old pub which is now home to a café. From Kohatu through to Norris Gully, the trail runs alongside pine forest, near the state highway. Norris Gully rest area near the highway, and is located close to the southern entrance to the tunnel.

Norris Gully to Belgrove, 8 km
Approaching the tunnel, the trail follows the route of the old railway line. At 1.4 km long, this dis-used rail tunnel is completely dark and lights are required. Emerging into the sunlight again, there is a long gentle downhill, again following a railway line cutting, to the next settlement of Belgrove. Belgrove was a terminus for the railway and the restored railway windmill here one of only two in NZ.

Belgrove to Wakefield, 9.5 km
There are some very scenic, expansive rural views on this section of the ride. Leaving Belgrove the trail passes close to a hop garden and then meanders around the side of the Wai Iti river for some distance, with opportunities for swimming along the way. The countryside here is dotted with sheep, disused tobacco kilns, and some lovely colonial farmhouses. There is a 1.6 km section which runs along the edge of the state highway, where the highway has been widened to allow this to occur. The final (and newest) again follows a river edge towards the historic village of Wakefield. Close to Wakefield, the trail joins a public walking/cycling trail on the edge of the village, to emerge in the village center. There are cafes, a bakery, an old pub and small supermarket in Wakefield for refreshments.

Wakefield to Brightwater, 8 km
The section of trail from Wakefield to Brightwater is mostly flat all the way. Leaving the village, the trail passes the St Johns church, which is the second oldest church in NZ. The churchyard on the hill provides great views down the valley to the sea. From here, the trail includes a short section through a remnant totara forest, then follows the side of a quiet country road, dotted with large old oak trees, towards Brightwater. There is a café, a Sprig and Fern pub and a small supermarket in Brightwater.

Brightwater to Stoke, 14 km
This last section of the ride is on the Waimea Plains, where the trail passes close to a number of wineries, including one section where the trail goes right through the grapes. The trail skirts the town of Richmond and then Stoke. If planning an overnight before continuing your ride on the Coastal Route, Stoke or Richmond are convenient locations to stay. If returning to The Gentle Cycling Company in Stoke, our maps will provide the route for you.

Jonti Griffin