There were some steep climbs (where we had to push our bikes) but the views on the way up to and along Shamrock Ridge (the highest point on the Track itself at 407m) were outstandingly beautiful. This section from Torea Saddle to Lochmara can be challenging but you can ride/walk at your own pace and the views of both the Kenepuru & Queen Charlotte Sounds were amazing and well worth the effort. The technical descent is good fun too. From where the Lochmara Lodge pathway meets the Queen Charlotte track down to Mistletoe Bay and onto Anakiwa, is a great part of the track and if you are not so experienced, then the Te Mahia Saddle/Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa section is a little easier and a very popular ride down into Anakiwa. This follows the old bridle path above Onahau Bay, passing by farm paddocks and regenerating forest to the Onahau Lookout with picnic tables and on a clear day, provides fantastic views of Onahau Bay, up the Queen Charlotte Sound and back down into Anakiwa. You then descend through mature forest close to Bottle Bay and along the gentle undulating track to Davies Bay, with a safe sandy, grass banked beach – perfect for a dip to cool off. This is a popular picnic spot for locals in summer. The final 15 minute ride to Anakiwa again follows an old bridle path running through mature forest featuring some large beech trees.
Along the whole journey, there was evidence of wild pigs and Tanya even saw a wild goat. There was also a variety of native birds to be seen in their habitat. We arrived home at Anakiwa 401 pretty tired as we are not regular mountain bikers, but totally exhilarated and can recommend it highly – we can see why it has the NZ Cycle Trail Great Ride status. Talk to us if you’d like any advice on walking or biking the Queen Charlotte Track.