I can still remember when I clicked on a video link and discovered the Link Pathway of the Marlborough Sounds. What I saw was cyclists whipping along a forest path following the turquoise coastal arms that wrap around headland points and seemingly endless bays. The drone footage of hikers and bikers looked surreal. Their joy! Their journey! Theirs was a role that I so wished to be cast in … and I was in luck. It just so happened that the Great Rides App annual cycling pilgrimage crossed this path; to pass up on this new ride would be unforgivable to me, so in autumn I entered the location of Linkwater into my Garmin GPS unit and scouted out the trail.

Enjoying the elevated views from the pathway over the Marlborough Sounds (credit Link Pathway Trust)

In planning the trip, I decide to ride from Anakiwa to Picton, a journey all linked up now. Last time I rode the Queen Charlotte Track, the options to return to Picton were either by road or water taxi as the trail was still incomplete. Today I start my journey at Anakiwa, being the end of the Queen Charlotte Track, and will pedal all the way to Picton on a purpose-built cycle trail. Before I head off I flick on the GPS units, enter a waypoint and start making tracks in both a digital and physical sense. It’s hard not to enjoy this section of the Link Pathway. The easy course seamlessly wraps around the points and bays of the inner reaches of the Queen Charlotte Sound. My senses alive, I enjoy the sound of the lapping water, the saline smells and the view of the changing landscape. Soon the turquoise waters (just like the hues I remember from the video) over my left shoulder become brackish and brown as the reach of the Grove Arm ends and I meet up with Queen Charlotte Drive.

Anakiwa is a coast retreat off the main beat

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