Run Report

East End Road Trip

What: East End parkrun, New Plymouth, 49th course and 18th NZ course

Distance travelled: 598km

When: July 17-19

When parkrun announced the restart of parkrun in New Zealand my planning for parkrun tourism got into full swing.

The first week of pause I had planned to be at East End parkrun, so I was keen to get there as soon as possible.

Since it was school holidays we made it a family weekend (rather than me travel solo). We left Rotorua on Friday morning and began our leisurely 300km drive to New Plymouth.

Whakamaru Dam
Between Piopio and Awakino Gorge

We’d booked to stay at the Plymouth International hotel mostly because it had a heated swimming pool, I thought that would be a hit with our 8-year-old son (I was right). It also had a spa pool which I enjoyed soaking in.

There’s plenty to do in New Plymouth and you can do a lot of stuff for free. I’ll get onto our non-parkrun activities after the run report.

On parkrunday we were up bright and early (family trait) so we headed to the beach at 7.30am. We parked at the car park at the end of Nobs Line, it was easy to get to from our accommodation.

The sun was coming up and it was pretty spectacular.

Casey and Axel made a beeline for the beach and the waves, while I did’t want to get sand in my shoes so I stayed up on the walkway.

The startline is to the east of the car park and there was a parkrun flag on a rise, always a comforting sight to know you’re at the right place.

I met a few other visitors, including Sarah Fish from Millwater parkrun. I’d been told to look out for her by Scott Arrol of Scottairplanes fame, so of course we got a pic for him.

After the briefing, led by run director Andy Walmsley, we were off on our run. The run starts to the left of the path to avoid other path users being bowled over. After about 100m you’re on the walkway itself.

On the way to the bridge.

The turnaround

The parkrun follows the coastal walkway all the way to just past the famous Te Rewa Rewa bridge. This is where you see the iconic view of Mount Taranaki through the middle, but not this day.

No mountain view but still got my pic – mid-run.

It’s mostly flat but with a few undulations. Suitable for buggies and wheelchairs – there were a few around.

The finish is on the grassy space where we had the run brief, very spacious and a great place to hang out and chat afterwards.

For post-parkrun refreshments we headed back along the course for a few hundred metres to the Kiosk Beach Cafe at Fitzroy Beach Surf Club. It’s outdoor seating but luckily we had a mild and calm day.

I had a hot chocolate, Casey a flat white and nothing for Axel, he wanted to hurry up and get moving.

We didn’t stay too long as we had a busy day planned.

As soon as we got back to the car we took our bikes out from the back and prepared for a ride back along the walkway.

It’s about 13km end to end, but we went to the Bike Park at Bell Block and then back past the car to the Len Lye Wind Wand (about 20km all up).

It’s wide in most parts and suited to any cycling ability. I was on a commute MTB (almost 20 years old and super heavy frame), Axel and Casey on full suspension MTBs.

If you can take your bikes then I’d highly recommend this.

On our arrival on Friday we went to Brooklands Zoo at Pukekura Park and then a wander around the park afterwards.

Dinner was south Indian cuisine at Arranged Marriage. Highly recommend!

After our bike ride on Saturday we feasted on a hot roast chicken then enjoyed another swim in the hotel pool.

A friend mentioned they had climbed Paratutu Rock when they visited New Plymouth, so we decided to have a venture up there.

Now I don’t have a head for heights, so I got halfway up and called it a day. That was where the steps make way for rock and chains to hold on to.

Casey and Axel didn’t go much further, so we drove to Oakura instead. By then we were pooped.

Dinner was fish and chips from Blowfish Takeaways, they scored a 5/10 from us – we’ve been spoiled in Rotorua and while the fish was nice and fresh, the chips were no match for home.

We headed home early on Sunday morning so we could enjoy a leisurely drive with plenty of stops.

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