Experience the heart of the Marlborough Sounds whilst walking or cycling through lush coastal bush and along skyline ridges.
The Queen Charlotte Track offers a spectacular journey through the Marlborough Sounds. Walk or ride through lush bush, around historic bays and along skyline ridges. You will be rewarded with unsurpassed views of both Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds and encounters with native birds such as the inquisitive weka. Take the opportunity to enjoy local hospitality at the variety of cafes and accommodation, from campsites to luxury lodges, located along the track. Choose to walk or bike as much or as little as you want and have your gear transported by boat between your overnight stops.
Day 1, Ship Cove/Meretoto > Endeavour Inlet, 15km
Enjoy your cruise to Ship Cove where you can spend some time exploring one of Captain Cook’s favourite places in Aotearoa. 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 the 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.
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 71-kilometre trip can be completed in three to five days, or you can access the track where it meets the road and walk for just a day or two.
The entire Queen Charlotte Track is open to mountain bikes from 1 March to 30 November each year. The ride takes about 13 hours. At other times of the year, mountain bikes are only allowed on the Kenepuru Saddle to Anakiwa section of the track, which is a little over 40 kilometres long.
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, motels and hotels) is available right along the track.
Most people begin the walk 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.