The Water Ride

Distance: 35km
Trail Status: Open – several estuary can flood on a high tide
Surface: Concrete and lime sand sections
Traffic: Light to Heavy
Grade: 1

This section of Hawke’s Bay Trails starts from Ahuriri in Napier. It runs along the coast towards Bayview, to wetlands which were part of the old inner harbour. It returns past the airport with an optional loop extension to the base of the Poraiti foothills. Activities to stop and explore on the way include: the Ahuriri fishing precinct, cafés, restaurants, playgrounds, coffee houses and bird hides. This section has a rich history – rare migrating birds, historic maritime beacons, Māori history and the lasting effects of 1931’s brutal earthquake.

The popular trail from Ahuriri to Bay View is concrete, about 7km in length and  suitable for all recreational uses including hand bikes, wheelchairs, recumbants and trikes. It is an easy, flat ride to the end of the concrete. After the concrete, the trail is only suitable for standard bikes. Some gated lime sand sections cross a working farm - sheep and cattle may be present.

At Bay View, an intersection means you can stay on Ferguson Road to Snapper Park Café OR cross to the main road near Onehunga Road, where the trail leads to wetlands and the marked Whakamaharatanga Walkway - previously an island of Ahuriri estuary. The trail buffers conservation land teeming with bird life and crosses a working farm.

Once past the airport, there is an underpass crossing at the expressway/railway bridges where the trail continues to natural wetlands of the upper harbour. Stop off at the bird hides - see how many native or different species you spot out of: Royal Spoonbill, White and Grey Heron, Ducks, Swans, Oystercatchers, Plovers, Shags, Stilts, Pukekos, Terns and Kingfisher.  The trail then exits across and beside Prebensen Drive, returning to the bridges, creating a loop and connecting back to Ahuriri.