After spending much of my Summer guiding multi day cycle trips down the West Coast of the South Island, it was time to hit the trails – at my own pace! Tommy Parker, Keith Stubbs and I packed up my truck with the necessities, including a decent rain jacket, snacks & headed toward the Alps. From Wanaka, it was going to take 3.5 hours to get to Frans Josef where there is a 4km loop track, just north of the township. After hearing of the recent deluge there, we were happy to know the track was intact, due to a passionate few local shredders.
It gets me stoked to know the local councils and government is pumping cash into creating and extending trails. The West Coast Wilderness trail is over 120km of track that will keep riders with a range of abilities happy. The section from Ross to Hokitika starts off super flat, however the bush near Mahinapua makes for great bush riding with small gradients.
We were chomping at the bit to drive north before the next wet front bombarded the South Island, so we headed toward the Sounds and set up camp at Momorangi Bay. The next morning we drove blurry-eyed to Picton to catch the ferry which would conveniently drop us off at the beginning of the Queen Charlotte Sounds track.
Ship Cove – Camp Bay
Most level-headed people would typically do the infamous ride in 3 days & 2 nights… We however, figured 2 days would be a challenge worth taking on. The first day was a 30km warm-up staying at Camp Bay where we discovered Sting Ray. At first, they startled us as we emerged from the water sending us darting toward the shore! Later, with the help of a spear, we ended up with a medium sized Ray on the menu to complement the mixed veggies.
Camp Bay – Anakiwa
The next day was full on! 40km of stunning scenery and many up & downs, we arrived in Anakiwa. My Specialized Stumpjumper performed beautifully and was an absolute pleasure to ride. With tired legs, hungry bellies and thirsty mouths, we headed to Blenheim for the night to meet up with some friends. One of which is cycling from Wanaka to Paris. Check out his blog – www.pixnbike.com
1850km of driving was well worth it. We arrived in Wanaka just in time to enjoy the Easter break, we needed those days to recover for the next trip…