The glossy brochure says “Experience the heart of the Marlborough Sounds while biking the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track, a 70km journey with epic scenery, ride through lush coastal forest, around bays and along skyline ridges, you will be rewarded with unsurpassed views”
But as we have discovered on previous trips to this part of the South Island it also rains quite a bit…
The forecast looked ominous for the weekend as we packed our gear for a Friday morning departure on the Interisland ferry, but hey it was still dry at that stage. Arriving around lunchtime in Picton we transferred to the water taxi for a 40km ‘cruise’ out to Ship Cove in the outer Sounds as the clouds gathered the rain began and the water started to cut up rough.
By now it was mid-afternoon but we only had a couple of hours riding to Endeavour Inlet for our first overnight stay, but plenty long enough to get plastered in mud and wet to the skin, this was to be the theme for the next couple of days, but we had a roof over our heads for the night and a place to dry out and enjoy a good feed.
Day two dawned grey with showers wiping through on a stiff breeze as we ventured out in our dried out gear which at least felt good for the first half-an-hour of our five hour ride. As with day one the descents on the clay surface which resembled small streams in places made for ‘lively’ riding and it wasn’t difficult to smile once we reached the bottom still in one piece.
Again a comfortable overnight stay awaited us with good food and an opportunity to dry out and prepare for the next day.
Day three had an even split with 20km of the track remaining and 20km of road and a new trail back to Picton, complete with a bike (and person) wash facility at the tracks end, Anakiwa. The ride back to Picton took in an excellent piece of new MTB trail running alongside and far above the road complete with a hammock and it had stopped raining!
Finally a pre-arranged shower and clean-up awaited us in Picton before a return trip on the Interislander and a couple of days at home cleaning gear, servicing bikes… … that’s the QCT on a wet weekend.