From now on, I will be sharing my past travels as part of my Travel Throwback Thursday #TTBT series.
Picton is located in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound and is a ferry ride connection across Cook Strait to Wellington on the North Island. The Queen Charlotte Sound is located in the Eastern section of the Marlborough Sounds.
Our New Zealand trip was ending, so we did not have time to hike the Queen Charlotte Track in its entirety. A second option was renting mountain bikes from Wilderness Guides. Wilderness Guides owners were extremely helpful with helping us decide on an affordable option for a day trip of mountain biking and offered to shuttle us back from their kayak storage outside of Anakiwa. Not having biked since I was a young kid, I shook my nerves as I picked up my bike rental and boarded the boat across the Queen Charlotte Sound. The Beachcomber boat dropped us off at Torea Bay.
Rode bikes between Torea Bay to Anakiwa – Image Source
The track rises and falls over bays and mountain passes making it a perfect mountain biking trail. The first part of the bike ride was difficult due to the elevation climb. I ended up pushing my bike from Torea Bay until we were up on the Queen Charlotte Track. However, after climbing 300 m, we had a relatively easy ride back down to the water level and were rewarded by views of the sound.
My slow pace navigating the narrow, dirt track allowed me to enjoy the gorgeous views of the aqua blue water and green covered mountains below. On the very sharp turns, I would stop my bike and reposition it in the direction I had to go. The boys wanted to go fast, which I was not comfortable with. Fortunately, the trail was straightforward. I didn’t mind taking my time to break and take pictures.
Caught napping. . .
The panorama images from the trip do not do it justice. Fortunately, we had a beautiful day for riding with few clouds to interfere with the sun. Watching boats cruise through the sound and their white wake trails added to the experience. Danielle actually decided to break away from the group and go kayaking for the day, which she raved about. It was a great day to be on the water, but I am glad I did not miss out on these views.
The bumpy trail made navigating the narrow dirt trench difficult. I rode my brakes down most of the track while Andy would speed down and then pedal back to have fun. Some sections of the track were only a couple inches wider than the bike tires, which took major concentration.
At the end of the ride, we reached hikers from Anakiwa, which slowed our pace considerably. I had biked for 7 hours and roughly 21 km or 13 miles. I jumped off my bike before a few almost wipe-outs, but I would not have traded the experience for anything. I ended the trip with an ice cream before hitting a main road to the pick up location to head back to Picton.
With a sore bottom, I was glad to relax in the the couches at the kayak storage garage. This was one activity I actually took longer than the estimated time to complete. It didn’t help that I was taking as many pictures as possible. It was a great way to end our last full day on the South Island.
Where is your favorite place to mountain bike?
New Zealand Series:
- Two and a Half Weeks through New Zealand
- New Zealand: Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
- New Zealand’s Milford Sound – A Photo Essay
- Trip Report: Kayaking the Doubtful Sound
- Queenstown – Trekking and Celebrating a New Year
- Wanaka – Tramping Rob Roy Peak and Glacier
- Touring the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers for Free
- South Island: Exploring New Zealand’s West Coast
- Things to Do in Nelson, New Zealand
- Mountain Biking above the Queen Charlotte Sound
- Connecting New Zealand Islands: Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry
- Trip Report: Trekking Tongariro Alpine Crossing