A Journey to the Deep South
Cold, Wind, Rain and whole bunch of fun! This accurately sums up Manta5’s recent trip to the South Island.
Only having 12 days, 4 main destinations and well over 3,000km’s of travel ahead, our riding crew had a full loaded itinerary ahead of them. When checking the reports, weather predictions were looking grim. Two large low pressure systems were pushing through, bringing with them cold temperatures, high winds, and lots of rain. Knowing this, our team made the executive decision to still load up the cars and take the journey to the deep south.
The start of the trip had the sun beaming down and a smooth ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton. Where was this onslaught of rough weather? surely the news reporters had it wrong this time.
Our first stop, Abel Tasman National Park, home to the famous New Zealand golden beaches and crystal clear waters. What a spectacular way to start the trip and boy was it amazing riding the bike in those warm waters! The highlight of day was riding at full speed through the shallows feeling like you were flying over the golden sand, which you could clearly be seen when looking down.
Stacey Riding Sandy Bay, Abel Tasman
Next on the agenda was four days based out of Queenstown with the goal of riding as much in the surrounding area as possible. The further south our team headed the more we started noticing snow-capped mountains and large glacier lakes. It looked cold and we were soon going to find out if it really was…
The water temperature for the first Queenstown demo wasn’t as bad as we had been anticipating. Blair, our team rider was suited up in his 3/4mm wetsuit, sharing “its colder than it looks, once you get in your body gets use to the colder temperatures.” The event went off without a hitch, everyone stopped to take a second glance when they saw our rider biking on water. That is until the predicted bad weather hit, resulting in a prompt pack down and a quick escape before the rain really set in.
Riding a windy, southern lake proved one thing to us! The bike can truly handle the chop of some dicey waters.
Next in line was an afternoon session in Wanaka. Once again, the conditions weren’t ideal as a gustily westerly limited our time on water, however, we managed to meet some friendly locals and had a good ride next to the iconic ‘Wanaka tree’. Some advice was passed on to catch the setting sun at lake Pukaki, that’s exactly what we did.
Blair carving the blue waters of Lake Pukaki
The sun was setting, the snow-capped peak of Mount Cook was glimmering and not a breath of wind in the air. This was truly a surreal experience riding a bike on water in one of the world’s most beautiful locations.
One of the team’s final stops was a demo day at Christchurch. We had a great turnout for the two-hour event (thanks to those that came down). This was a great way to finish our journey into the deep south. We finished the day in Christchurch with a well-deserved whisky at a local establishment. This hit the spot, warming our souls back after a few cold days in those glacier lakes.
The 12 day trip had come on gone. Although there were challenges with the conditions, the bike handled its own against mother nature. Reflecting on the time spent in the South Island I have concluded that we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and man the Hydrofoiler™ XE-1 is a very cool product!!
Thank you to all the friendly hands that helped us throughout the journey. Can’t wait until well see you all back out there on the water.
Check out Vlog 4 here to see the highlights of the trip.