Picton to Pelorus Bridge
By morning it had stopped raining and it was looking like a nice day. Jelle had made arrangements to go kayaking this day so I headed out Queen Charlotte Drive by myself. I wasn't sure if we'd meet again but we exchanged contact info so that we could.
Queen Charlotte Drive started climbing immediately, but it was up and down as it stayed close to the which which was of course Queen Charlotte Sound. It was all very scenic, with lush growth and views out the sound. This is a very large body of water and the road followed it for quite some time through a couple of little towns.
The first of these tiny towns was Ngakuta Bay which had a wonderful and unique "give cyclists space" sign. This road is a popular route for locals as well as tourists. I stopped for a coffee at the only place in town, which was a converted camper trailer. I noticed they were also selling Sand Flea Repellent. This was my first warning, which of course I ignored and didn't buy any.
Queen Charlotte Drive ended in Havelock, which bills itself as the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the world. I didn't have any, but I did find a fishing supply/sporting goods/hardware store where I found a gas canister that would work with my Jetboil. After Havelock the route is on highway 6 to Pelorus Bridge. Although NZ highways have no shoulder, traffic was not a problem.
The Pelorus Bridge Cafe was a stop on the tour bus route and the place was hopping when I got there. The campground was quiet though and right on the river. Very nice. The water was crystal clear and fast flowing. Camping next to me was Camille from California who was on a tour herself with her bike and a camper van. She was nice enough to give me her contact info and said to call her if I ran into and problems and needed a ride. Meanwhile the sand fleas had discovered me. Fresh meat. They went straight for my ankles and feet and I had lots of bites before I covered up and put on some bug juice. That night I played my shakuhachi by the river.