Fiordland, a paradise packed with dramatic landscapes, and blessed with plentiful huts and hiking tracks including three Great Walks; yet surprisingly barren of cycle trails. Wheels of change are in motion though. As a result of the incredible efforts of the Fiordland Trails Trust, the tread of my tyres can now easily explore the fringes of the Fiordland forest between the beautiful twin lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri.
Driving into Te Anau on the most perfect of mornings we park up and begin to consider our ride. While the Lake 2 Lake is a linear journey, there are a few ways to enjoy this trail; should we break it into sections, get a pick-up from a local shuttle provider at trail’s end, or do a loop and ride back using local roads? We decide to ride from Te Anau towards Manapouri before returning the way we had come. Sometimes I ponder how much easier it would be to already have these trails on the Great Rides App to aid in planning my trips – on the flip side it would mean I would not get to ride such incredible trails up and down the country to add them to the App I’ve been working on for the past few years. After these needless circular arguments, I attach my GPS units to my bike, strap on a packed lunch and, together with my wife, reach the trailhead beside the Te Anau Department of Conservation Visitor Centre.
I push play on the GPS units and we’re off to have fun in this stunning southern playground. The sun was starting to burn holes in the low cloud, revealing small patches of blue sky and the peaks of the Kepler Mountains that we were riding towards. Town behind us, adventure in front. This section of trail winds its way along the lake edge. The trail is wide and is shared with many hikers carrying heavy packs for their multi-day trip on the Kepler Track. We felt light and free. The flowing trail, with its sweeping bends through the shrub forest, soon opens up to a clearing where we make our first stop – at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.