Queen Charlotte Drive
Nelson 24th February 2013
Leaving my camp spot was a bit of a mission as I’ve to cross a pipeline bridge. So one thing at a time.
The plan from here was to cycle up the Mai Tai valley, but due to works taking place on the road it was closed. And closed properly it was with a big bugger off gate! Back I turn up the valley to Nelson. Only five or so km’s, so no worries.
Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time was lose my big pocketed cotton cargo pants. Not only are they heavy, but also take up a lot of room. After purchasing some Columbia lightweight pants from Mountain Designs, a visit to the local Salvation Army’s deposit bank was then the last order of service in Nelson.
I depart Nelson via the plentiful cycle ways.
I’m treated before I leave though to the highland sounds of a bag pipe band practicing in the morning sun. Scottish heritage in New Zealand is in abundance, and keen to show their family line.
The road out of Nelson was one almighty climb. Seemed to never end. Eventually arriving in the mussel town of Havelock. Food supplies replenished.
The sign out of Havelock towards Picton reads; Narrow Winding Road. Which for some peculiarly reason seemed to keep the campervan fraternity at bay. Happy Days! Narrow winding road, they need to try a good Cornish road as this seemed like a highway in comparison!
The Queen Charlotte Drive up to this point was without a doubt the most scenic road I’ve ridden. It hugs the Marlborough sound throughout and offers some truly beautiful vistas.
Except for a camp ground (which I’m not paying for) it was looking fairly sparse regarding wild camping, as the road was taken up on both sides by private dwellings. Eventually I noticed what looked like a small trail leading up a sharp wooded climb. I scampered up. Finding a flattish piece of ground under an electricity pillion. It was quiet a haul up with my bike and bags, but worth it.
I reason that, if it’s difficult for me to reach, then the chance of mankind intervention is very slim. My secluded spot also offered great views of the sound.
Picton was not what you’d call your average ferry terminus. Set in a large bay surrounded by hills and forest.
A lunch spot is found under a palm tree near the water’s edge, and I indulge in a tub of mussels.
The afternoon push is made towards Blenheim. Not quite arriving there for the day, but encamping below a cemetery fifteen kilometres or so out.
Blenheim is another fruit-growing town, and feeds the wineries of the Marlborough region. A very well-known exporter of good wine.
Blenheim 27th February 2013 – 167 km’s
You can click on each photo for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.