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Timaru - Cave Loop

Grade: Intermediate/Advanced

Time: 2-3 Hours 

Users: Road Cyclists

Starting on the western outskirts of Timaru, this ride takes you into the countryside to the west of Timaru, providing great views over Timaru, the South Canterbury coastline and surrounding farmland, in an area where many locals have established lifestyle blocks just a few minutes commute from the Timaru CBD.

The route then continues southwest to the Holme Station and Blue Cliffs areas before returning back through southern Timaru to your start point.

The area you will ride through is rich in Maori and European history, and is also famous for its geology. Your ride will take you through early farming settlements, past one of the South Island’s most stately homesteads, through ancient Maori Rock Art country and is also near to the famous Craigmore sinkholes.

Enjoy this ride of approx. 65 km, 2-3 hours.

About Timaru

The urban hub of South Canterbury, Timaru is just two hours drive South of Christchurch and a similar distance to Dunedin.

Find out more about things to see and do in Timaru here.

Directions

Park your vehicle in the carpark at the Southern Trust Events Centre in Morgans Rd.

Turn left into Morgans Rd as you leave the carpark.

Ride along Morgans Rd until you arrive at the Morgans/Pages Rd “T” intersection.

Turn left into Pages Rd – after a short distance you will see a cycleway on your left to follow – note that this is a shared use path, designed for slow cycling and walking.

Continue along Pages Rd

At the “T” intersection just past the Gleniti Golf Course, turn right into Gleniti Rd.

Continue on the gentle uphill incline until you reach Brockley Rd.

Turn left into Brockley Rd. Follow Brockley Rd a short distance until you reach Claremont Rd.

At the stop sign, turn right onto Claremont Rd, and continue on a gentle climb to Whale Bones Corner.

The whale bones on display here were taken from the beach at Timaru and erected in the late 19th century at the corner for local landowner Mr John MacIntosh, as a landmark for visitors travelling to his nearby Kingsborough Station homestead. The shelter for this historic landmark was built as a community project in the 1980s.

At Whale Bones Corner, follow Taiko Rd to your right. You will be Continuing west remaining on Taiko Rd for approx. 20 km, until you reach Cave township.

Follow Taiko Rd down the Taiko zig-zag into Taiko Valley.


McKenzie Memorial

As you near the end of the valley floor, on your right is a rest area. You will see the memorial to James McKenzie the infamous sheep rustler, who in March 1855 stole 1,000 sheep from this area in what was then Levels Station, one of the founding sheep runs in the South Canterbury region.

Taiko was the name of one of the two Maori shepherds who helped track and capture McKenzie, (in the high country valley system now known as the Mackenzie Pass); McKenzie escaped soon after and was eventually re-captured in Lyttelton.

Although spelled differently, the Mackenzie district was also named after James McKenzie, who over the years has become somewhat of a local folk hero.

Continue along Taiko Rd and up past the Limeworks until you reach Davison Rd.

Turn left at the T-intersection on Davison Rd / State Highway 8 and continue approx. 6km to Cave township.

Take care along this stretch of road as is a major regional route with increased traffic.

A short distance and on your left is another rest area and historic site, a water trough erected by grateful ratepayers to commemorate the work in fostering the local Downlands Water Supply by T.D. Burnett of Mount Cook Station (see below).

Continue into Cave township, turn left into Charles St and then right into Elizabeth St.

Although a small township, Cave has a church, community hall, pub, small store and is home to several historic points of interest.

Carry on through Cave and veer left uphill on Cannington Rd.

On top of the pass above the township is the Cave World War Memorial stone (Timaru basalt) , a moving tribute to the many fallen in both World Wars from Cave and the surrounding area, paid for and erected by T.D. Burnett of Mt Cook Station (see below).

Continue down over the pass, as you reach the base of the hill you reach Burnett’s Rd on your right.

An 800m one-way detour down Burnett’s Rd will bring you to the historic St David’s Memorial Church, a beautiful stone church and enduring tribute to the pioneer settlers of the Mackenzie area.


St David’s Memorial Church

St David’s was built by runholder and Member of Parliament T.D. (Thomas David) Burnett at his own expense in remembrance of his parents Andrew (1838-1927) and Catherine Burnett (1837-1914), who took up Mount Cook run (Mt Cook Station) in May 1864, and “in the wildness founded a home”.

Opened in 1930 and constructed without using any nails, the church is named after St David, the patron saint of all shepherds. Inside, bluestone tablets set at intervals in the nave wall list the first and second wave of South Canterbury station run holders.

Further along Burnett’s Rd is another interesting piece of local history, also connected with the Burnett family. The often photographed Burnett Homestead Gates to “Aorangi”, the family’s lowland farm, were built during the 1933 depression and illustrate the class structure of the time, with a main gate for the residents and separate side gates, one for English workers, the other for Irish workers.

(Note that the farm is private property, do not pass beyond the front gates.)

Returning from your detour, follow Cannington Rd until you veer left on to Pareora Gorge Rd.

The road over the Pareora Gorge hill is a good gradient with spectacular views into the Pareora Gorge.

Once over the gorge, follow Pareora River Rd until you reach Holme Station corner.

Turn left and ride over the Pareora River Bridge.

You will pass the site of the old Holme Station Saleyards on your left.

From 1908 – 2008 the Holme Station Saleyards were in use as a stock sales and meeting place for farmers, stock agents and many others from the surrounding community.

Continue along Holme Station Rd through rolling hill country until you reach Briggs zig-zag, an opportunity to deplete your oxygen levels!

Soon after clearing Briggs zig-zag, you will arrive at a stop sign and Fairview Rd.

Turn right into Fairview Rd.

Continue down Fairview Rd until you come to Brockley Rd (first left) or Barton Rd, 2nd left, where you will see Barton Rural School on the corner.

Either road is an option to travel back to the Southern Trust Events Centre carpark in Morgans Rd.

Follow either Brockley or Barton Rd until you reach Claremont Rd.

At Claremont Rd, turn right and travel back down towards Timaru until you reach the Give Way sign as you return to the suburbs at Wai-iti Rd.

At the Give Way sign, veer right.

A short ride down Wai-iti Rd will lead to Morgans Rd on your left.

Turn left into Morgans Rd and return to the car park at thSouthern Trust Events Centre.
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