Walking the 70km Queen Charlotte Track

One of New Zealand's best walks, including a scenic boat ride and stunning accommodation from campsites to luxury resorts.

Walk or mountain bike over bush clad ridgelines of the 70km iconic Queen Charlotte Track. Starting with a beautiful boat ride through the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds to the historic Ship Cove, Captain Cook’s favourite anchorage site of New Zealand. On the track you will be rewarded with stunning ridgeline views of both the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds and enjoy some encounters with native birds such as the inquisitive weka, fantail and wood pigeon.

There are options to walk or bike the track ranging from half a day (ending with a well-deserved beverage or meal at one of the lodges on water's edge while waiting for your water taxi) to five day experiences.

Take the track at your own pace and choose to leave your luggage on board the water taxi so they transport it to meet you at the accommodation you are ending your day at, giving you the freedom to walk/bike with a day pack and ditch the heavy gear.

The evenings on the Queen Charlotte Track can be spent in accommodation ranging from a camp in a DOC campsite, homestays and B&Bs or with style at 5-star resorts on water’s edge, complete with massage and fine dining.

Sections of the track require a track pass, which can be purchased from the Picton, Blenheim and Havelock i-SITE Visitor Information Centres.

 

Walking the Queen Charlotte Track

Day 1, Ship Cove/Meretoto > Endeavour Inlet, 15km

our track experience begins with a scenic cruise to Ship Cove where you can spend some time exploring one of Captain Cook’s favourite places in New Zealand. Your efforts in conquering the hills today will be rewarded with great views of Queen Charlotte Sound. You will be following an old bridle path a lot of the way and may meet some of the locals who live close to the track.

Day 2, Endeavour Inlet > Camp Bay, 12km

You will be walking alongside the shoreline for most of today where the forest is rich in small birds. A side trip is possible to see an old Antimony mining site. The many small beaches you will pass make great places for a rest or your lunch.

Day 3, Camp Bay > Torea, 23km

You’ll need a big breakfast and an early start for this longest day on the track. From the top of the ridge you will be well rewarded with magnificent panoramas of both Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. Enjoy the views at the several viewpoints and campsites along the way. Make sure you’ve got your Track Pass from here on as you’ll start passing through sections of private land today. This fee contributes to track maintenance, enhancement and access. Along the way, take a short side track to Eatwell's Lookout, the ultimate Marlborough Sounds selfie spot - the views from the sign posted lookout are absolutely worth the climb.

Day 4, Torea > Anakiwa, 20km

Your day starts with a climb back up to the ridgeline for more amazing views and the option for a side trip to a lookout point. During the last half of the day you will be mainly following old bridle paths high above the water with views through the beech trees. The campsite at Davies Bay is a great spot to take in the views and tranquillity before your final hour of easy walking to the track end at Anakiwa where you can catch your boat or other transport back to Picton.

Most of the track is wide and well formed, and all major streams have been bridged. For walkers, boots and a good level of fitness are required. The 70-kilometre trip can be completed in three to five days, or sections of the track can be walked or biked over a half-day or full-day.

There are seven Department of Conservation self-registration campsites on the track, each with toilets and a water supply but no cooking facilities. Private accommodation (tent sites, cabins, bed and breakfasts, homestays and lodges) is available right along the track.

Most people begin the track from its northern end at Ship Cove. Water transport to the start can be organised from Picton, and commercial operators will carry your pack between your overnight stays.

 

Biking the Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track is a New Zealand Great Ride featuring 70km of stunning single-track from Ship Cove to Anakiwa.

The track is graded for intermediate-advanced riders and its full length can be biked in 2-3 days.

The full length of the track is open to mountain bikes from 1 March to 30 November each year, and is best ridden over 2 - 3 days. At other times of the year, mountain bikers can ride a shortened version of the track, from Kenepuru Saddle to Anakiwa, which is a little over 40 kilometres long.

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