Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Queen Charlotte Track Adventure (Part 1)

Dave Osmond flew in to Wellington on ANZAC day. We whisked him on to the Interislander ferry and over to the south island. The ferry trip over to Picton in the evening was uneventful, apart from the fun balancing act of riding from the ferry terminal to the hostel in town carrying a big backpack and small day pack. Fortunately it was only a couple of hundred metres and not much traffic.

The next morning we were up early to catch the water taxi up Queen Charlotte Sound out to Ship Cove, the start of the track. Ship Cove is a sheltered idyllic bay near the end of Queen Charlotte Sound, and was a favourite resting/recovery spot for Captain Cook, as well as the Maori.

Ship Cove pier

Captain Cook memorial

After a few minutes exploring the Cook memorial we set off on the QCT. The first part of the track was ridiculously steep and after 30 m I was already off my bike walking. This first ascent was a brutal start with no chance to warm up, and I think I spent a large part of the 250 m climb pushing my bike up to the first lookout at the saddle. After a brief stop to take in the spectacular view over Ship Cove and Resolution Bay, we set off on a fun, fast descent into Resolution Bay. The climb up the other side of the bay was much kinder and a slow steady ascent which you could just keep spinning your legs. There were several other groups of mountain bikers on the track and we kept leap frogging past them.

The track

We stopped for a snack at the top of the second big climb. There were some benches to sit on a glorious views of Endeavor Inlet. There were also some curious (both looking and behaviour wise) chicken like creatures running around. They are known as wekas and turned up quite regularly along the track.

The weka

Endeavor Inlet

For the rest of the day we followed the edge of Endeavour inlet to Camp Bay. There were masses of holiday homes along the inlet some pretty fancy ones and some total dumps. We reached Camp Bay about 2:00pm. We collected our camping stuff from the jetty where the water taxi had dropped it off, and during our explorations of the area found a small cafe where we rapidly consumed some very tasty hot chips. We rode for about 4 four hours, covering 26 km, and were happy to be done for the day.

After we got the tents put up in started to rain lightly. We crawled inside and played hangman while we waited for the rain to stop. It stopped long enough for us to cook dinner, but then started up again and rained until 8:00am the next morning.

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