Pencarrow Lighthouse and Lake Kohangapiripiri - Eastbourne (Biking)
Sunday 3rd September
Location: 525 Pencarrow Coast Road, Pencarrow Head, Eastbourne, Lower Hutt 5013
We’ve loved the Pencarrow trail for years and have walked it several times. This was a new adventure though, this time we had our bikes!
The bikes arrived last Christmas and our inaugural ride had been out to the lighthouse on Boxing Day, but now we knew how much further we could go. We’d never adventured to the lake or the 2nd lighthouse so it was time to go exploring an old haunt, in a new way.
We started in the carpark just before Burdan’s Gate, on a busy Sunday afternoon. There were plenty of people with the same idea. It was a relatively still day which brings the crowds.
Shepherding the kids around and through the gate, we were off in a hurry. Given it was one of our first real bike rides, we were focused on learning about gears, passing people safely and being overtaken without being collected by bigger bikes.
It wasn’t long before we reached the first lighthouse, our usual turn around point, but not today.
Further on past the lighthouse there was a little shelter where we stopped for a snack and to discuss next steps. We knew there were plenty of tracks further around, the real question was which one should we try? The kids thought it would be cool to check out the 2nd Lighthouse on the hill, so we continued along the road.
The kids loved the rugged coast and the little caves that appeared tucked into the towering rock face.
Not too much further on, we came to the beginning of Lake Kohangapiripiri.
At this point we could either head left through the gate towards the lakes, or keep going along the beach road to the trails to the southeast. We decided to go through the gate and follow the old farm track. We passed the lake and a pump station at the bottom of the lighthouse hill.
(There was also a track continuing around the lake, we'll be back to check this out another time.)
This is where things got more tricky. It was our first hill and although we’d all just learned about gears no one was quite ready for what was coming. We all roared off down the track and took the first incline towards the 2nd lighthouse with gusto, but by the time we crept to the first plateau all boastfulness had gone. Soon bikes were being pushed.
When we reached the first viewpoint, two of the bikes were locked to the fence and only two kept going up (and up and up). The next place we stopped was a water tower.
We could see the 2nd lighthouse just up the next rise but it was two much. No bikes made it up there that day, only sore feet. The view was spectacular.
Going down was a different story. The kids had heard about mountain biking but hadn’t quite realised the full exhilaration of it. Whizzing down to where the first two bikes were locked up, gears were forgotten for breaks and skids.
With our family of four now heading back down to the lake there was a chorus of hooting, hollering and happy screams. Back round to the gate and the beach Lighthouse we went, everyone filled with adrenalin.
We asked the kids if they wanted to stop but they were keen to keep going. We speed back to the carpark and decided to stop at the Days Bay Pravillion on the way home for our victory ice cream. Sitting at the beach, we talked about how we should try some mountain biking.
Pencarrow is a brilliant ride for all skill levels. You can go at any speed and as far as your legs will take you. Just getting the little ones round to Camp Bay is an achievement. We would recommend this to everyone.
NOTE: Pencarrow is a very exposed track so always check the weather forecast before heading out and pack accordingly.
Age of Kids: 8yr and 11yrs
Biking Time: About 2-3 hours
Dogs Allowed: On lead
Difficulty: Easy, but moderate when biking up to the 2nd lighthouse
Phone Reception: Yes