In the early days of mountain biking, when I was growing up in Whangarei, some trails were built on Parahaki, a 241m hill/mountain that overlooks the city. This is very close to town, making it viable to ride out to the trailhead. So much better than packing up the car to go biking.
Times have changed. I moved away from Whangarei, the trails were lost to logging, and now we call it Parihaka.
The trails are the typical logging forest setup – a network of single-track built around a gravel road spine. We started from the Abbey Caves Rd entrance, and rode up some trails, before getting on the main road for the last leg up to the top.
From the top of the trails, you can head across the sealed carpark, and up the steps to the main lookout. You won’t want to do this every time you come up here, but it’s worth doing at least once.
I’ve walked up Parihaka many times, and I’ve ridden my bike up the road a few times, but it was the first time I’ve come up to the lookout via that angle.
From there we went back down the trails, looping around a few times to cover almost all of the trails. Lots of fun, mostly good trails. Thankfully it was dry, so the clay soils were good riding. Probably a bit sticky in the wet.
Note the bruises on one leg, and the bandage on the other ankle. To really rub salt into the wound, after the crash that caused this, the only way out along the trail was via a side track that was almost completely closed in with gorse. When you’re bruised and bleeding, the last thing you need is to get smacked in the face with a gorse bush.
Better hope that the husband has some sugary sweeties in the car to cheer you up when you finally reach the bottom, or things could go bad for both you and him…