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We started this trip in March  (getting a little late, but the weather was good) and took our time (10 days) getting round Marlborough Sounds and doing some hiking too.

We took the bus to Rai Valley to spend the night there; loaded our packs and caught an early morning bus to Havelock to catch a water taxi to the start of the Nydia Track. We were aiming for Penzance via Nydia Bay and Duncan Bay. Fairly easy gradients over to our alternative-style/organic–based/strongly-conservationist/wilderness accommodation at Te Mahoerangi (Nydia Bay) for our first night. Very comfortable and rather fun. Venison and chicken for tea and a night full of stars.

Remote accommodation on bike tour round Marlborough Sounds

Following day out along the Nydia saddle with view of the Sounds to each side and down to Ngawhakawhiti and Duncan Bay at the head of Tennyson Inlet. A few unexpected problems with joints so didn’t attempt to go on to Penzance. Offered overnight accommodation by a visiting Nelson-ite who had a bach at Duncan Bay. Discovered some surprising connections and had good conversation into the evening. Grey warblers and fantails at the front door. Decided to flag Penzance and instead were picked up at the end of Nydia Track and taken back to Rai Valley to assemble our bikes.Bird life while biiking round Marlborough Sounds

Woke up to fog (lots of it in the Rai Valley but it usually dissipates), loaded our bike trailers and set off for Okiwi Bay (on the way to French Pass) rather nervous about the steep climb in and out again. Lots of spiderwebs on the trees caught the sun. The climb gradient was manageable and took about one hour to the top. Almost level on top then surprisingly steep descent into Okiwi Bay (3 hours from Rai Valley). Several 100 houses in Okiwi. Found our holiday park, booked a caravan and wondered how we would ever get out again. Had a look around and talked to locals. One woman had spray-canned her dead agapanthus flowers orange to give winter colour – they looked sensational and totally confused garden-lovers who often asked what they were. Even the local garden centre was fooled. Heard moreporks that night.

Another beautiful day. We ground up the hill out of Okiwi and were surprised how much easier it was than what we had expected. Wonderful whoosh down the other side – 2hrs 15 mins back to Rai Valley. Relaxed and read for the afternoon.

Scenery on bike tour round Marlborough Sounds

Following morning moved on to Pelorus and spent 2.5 hours tramping up and around K-trig. Lots of questions and comments about the bikes. Then into a headwind towards Canvastown and on to Havelock – home of great mussels.  Had a mussel chowder for tea and were introduced to the works of a local artist  - Rick Edmonds - who specializes in very good seascapes and reflections. Mooched round galleries, read and talked to locals.

Following day headed east along the Queen Charlotte Drive through Moenui where we tried to track down Rick Edmonds but failed -  round to Linkwater, where we took a cabin and headed off round the Kenepuru Peninsula hoping to get to Te Mahia.  Lots of steep ups and downs and not much in the way of views at all, so we gave up. Oncoming rain.

Water patterns on bike tour round Marlborough SoundsSet off the following day towards Picton in overcast weather and increasing rain. Lovely grey reflections and patterns in the water. Diarrhoea (from the scallops at Havelock?) hit at Momorangi. Feeling mediocre. Trip up and down, but with views of picturesque little anchorages. The rain held back until we reached the hill above Picton then the skies opened. We arrived drenched but glowing at a motel in Picton where we showered and had a hot cocoa. Into Picton to buy ferry tickets and watched the film Miss Potter at the local theatre

Lovely trip. They all are! The harder it is the more rewarding. It’s always great wandering round New Zealand’s lovely landscapes and the exercise is necessary!

Biking route map round Marlborough Sounds


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