• Richard Avery

The Day only gets better on the Queen Charlotte track

I had been talking about running the Queen Charlotte track for awhile. Its in the Marlborough Sounds, and ever since I was a kid, I've done little bits of it, but never joined the entire 70km altogether. I mentioned it to Mum and Dad prior to my brief visit to NZ this month, and they were really keen to help out.

The trip on their boat down the Sounds the evening before was a bit rough. And the night on the boat wasn't much better. Surprisingly enough, I managed to get a bit of sleep however.

Up and 6am and ready to roll not long after. We wait for the sun to turn up so we can make landfall. In typical Dad style, he can't wait any longer so we motor over to the jetty while it's still pitch black.

A quick snap with Mum, followed by a toilet break, and I'm into it; grinding away up to the Resolution Bay saddle under headlight.

The climb is steeper than I was expecting, muddier too. I'm taking it pretty steady as I have a long day. I normally like to run these sorts of climbs, but decide to walk it to try and warm up.

Over the saddle and down the other side. I'm still surprised at the gradient. "My quads might be getting a decent work out today" I think to myself during the steep decent.

The climb back out of Resolution Bay is much easier, and is my first opportunity at a snap.

 Cruising along the shores of Endeavour Inlet, I suddenly notice Mum and Dads boat. They were keeping an eye on me (I think Dad was worried I was going to roll an ankle or something).

 I get a bit lost in the Camp Cove area. There are tracks heading in all directions and I stop for a quick chat to a hiker eating his breakfast. I head off down a track, and of course it's the wrong one. I get to Puna Cove before I realise I've gone the wrong way. Back to Camp Cove and onto the QC again.

It's a long slog up to the highest point on the track. Not technical, just a longer climb than anything I'm used to in WA.

Once again I stop to talk to a group of hikers at the Bay of Many Coves Shelter. They are pretty keen talkers, as they hadn't heard of anyone running the entire track in a day.

A brief stop to get some more water from Mum, and I keep heading long the ridge.

Once again, the climb out of Torea Saddle is a long slow grind. I walk a fair bit of it as the accumulated kilometres form the last few weeks are taking their toll. Not to mention the fact that I'm past the 50km mark on this run now too.

By this time the sun has finally burnt up the clouds and it is a beautiful day. I'm getting a little bit worried about the sun on the back of my neck, and I've just consumed the last of my water.

With 10km to go, I spot a little creak that appears to be pretty fresh water. A couple of mouth fulls out of there and that should see me through.

The final 10km or so, is absolute beautiful. The bush is amazing and views can't be beat.

 Finished up in Anakiwa at 2:45pm, making it just shy of 8hrs for the day out. An absolutely brilliant run, and strongly recommended if ever in Marlborough. NB it is also open for mountain biking also.

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