Pacific views aplenty on recommended ride

Lonely Planet says the Otago Peninsula is one of the best places in the world for a bike ride, so I thought I'd better include a peninsula ride in this series.

I'll warn you from the outset that this ride is as hilly as it is scenic.

We start at the St Clair Esplanade, and head east on Victoria Rd, past Forbury Park.

At 3km, just before the bowls stadium, turn right into the Chisholm Park Golf Club.

There's a public path through the course and you just have to watch out for stray shanks and unhappy hookers.

Distance: 32km.
Main climb: 300m.
Estimated riding time without stops: 2 hours.

Ride in front of the first tee, just past the Pro Shop, checking to your right to make sure that a golfer's not about to let rip across the path with a Big Bertha, and follow the path across the course and up behind the crematorium. 

Before you leave the course you'll pass in front of another tee, so watch out on your left for that and wait for any golfers to finish their drives. 

The track past the crematorium eventually turns left and nips down to join Tomahawk Rd - and you've avoided a stiff hillclimb.

Cruise through Tomahawk, knock off the short climb to the old gun emplacement, veer right at the intersection just past the gun pit (staying on Tomahawk Rd) and ride down to Smaills Beach.

At the Tautuku Fishing Club (6.8km into your ride) turn right on to the No Exit road (it's only no exit for gas-guzzlers) and ride up to the start of Karetai Track, through the gate.

Eventual winner Brendon Sharratt (Christchurch) near the top of Karetai Track during last summer...
Eventual winner Brendon Sharratt (Christchurch) near the top of Karetai Track during last summer's Peninsula Challenge. The track offers great views of Dunedin's ocean beaches. Photo by John Fridd.
This dirt track used to be in a shocking state, but improved once the DCC banned vehicles.

As you climb, you'll get some wonderful views of Dunedin's ocean beaches.

After reaching the cliff at the top, the track strikes out north and keeps climbing until it reaches formed Karetai Rd at 8.6km.

From here, the going is easier on the narrow road - unless there's a mean easterly blowing.

At 11km, turn right on to Highcliff Rd and you only have a short climb until you reach the best section of this scenic road, which offers brilliant views over to the blue Pacific as you enjoy a neat downhill.

Soon you'll be starting the short climb to Pukehiki at 13.7km.

Here, turn left on to Camp Rd and head down to Larnach Castle.

Admission $25 or $10 (grounds only) if you fancy a look and a coffee.

Our ride continues on Camp Rd, which passes just above the castle gate and winds down the hill until it ends at some houses (16.2km).

Ride straight ahead from the road end on to the public track.

This grassy, bumpy track will take you across a bit then down towards Broad Bay.

At the top of the formed road (at the first house), watch for the sign on the left pointing to the Company Bay track.

This takes you on to a farm.

Respect private property rights on this track.

You'll emerge on to McTaggart St, then nip down to Portobello Rd and start the pleasant, flat cruise through Macandrew Bay (20km), Andy Bay and back to St Clair to finish your 32km Peninsula adventure.

Next time: Government Track adventure

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