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The Motu Trails Cycleway was officially opened in early 2012 with the theme 'Set Yourself Free.' It certainly is a liberating experience just to be away from road traffic and riding an undulating gravelled track through unique sand dunes vegetation.
The Opotiki coastal section is accessible from Opotiki Wharf where The Wharf Hub is located. To access the trail, cycle atop the stop banks beside the scenic Otara river and cross the substantial 'Golden Gate' styled swing bridge.
The track wanders though sand hills for 10km. On a low tide it is possible to cycle back along the harder intertidal sand of the beach. Around the Tirohanga bluff there is now constructed a unique cycle board walk so that you can literally ride through the soft beach sand. What was once a head scratching linking up problem has turned out to become a novel fun feature.
There are stopping bays along the way where you can take in the scenic East Cape and volcanic peaks of Whale and White Islands (Whakaari). Undersea are many more such mounts lying unseen.
But its the history story boards along the way that make this ride really interesting. Hukuwai Beach was named after the schools of splashing fish that were once seen in the area. The beach seine nets used by early Maori were longer than any seen in Europe. A single haul would provide the needs of a hapu for a year.
Today in the same area you can deploy a personalised reef module or entire reef. New Zealand's only community reef helps provide fish for Opotiki. Further out again just off the horizon line is the new open ocean aquaculture venture set to feed the world.
Definitely a must do ride to Set Yourself Free.
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