5 Day Guided Queen Charlotte Track Walk

DSC02805Stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, this 73km walk will wrap you in the mystical beauty that is the Marlborough Sounds, and totally absorb you for five magical days.

Our 5 Day Guided Walk is the complete package, four days of walking, and one to rest and relax – or to enjoy a day’s sea kayaking. This is an all-inclusive trip and the ultimate walking holiday.

The Queen Charlotte Track (in the Marlborough Sounds) is located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. It is unique for its stunning coastal views, historical landmarks and wonderful variety of native bush and wildlife. This walk is as much about a walking holiday as it is an environmental, cultural and lifestyle experience.

Our trip provides you with a unique opportunity to sample all of the aspects mentioned above, in comfort and with a great group of people.

You will have a chance to see dolphins and witness the endangered South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin in their natural habitat. Live it up at Furneaux Lodge, Punga Cove Resort and The Portage. Take in the breathtaking views as you climb the ridges and travel down to the shorelines of the many coves and inlets. Enjoy some of the beautiful bays, coves and inlets by sea kayak, and (arguably) the best part of all – you don’t have to carry your pack. We can provide you with a light daypack and your luggage will be transported by water transport each day.


Day 1

Approximate walking time is 5 – 6 hours.

Your trip begins with personalised eco-tour with our guides on board a Cougar Line catamaran. During the morning your guide will share their knowledge of the sea birds and marine mammals as you travel to Motuara Island in the outer-Queen Charlotte Sound. Here you may have the opportunity to see the rare South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin who have been re-colonised on to this island sanctuary.

From Motuara Island you will cross the Sound to be dropped off at Ship Cove where you will begin your walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. Ship Cove is one of the most historic areas in the Sounds as it was one of James Cook’s most popular destinations on his many world travels. The area is surrounded by bountiful virgin bush and the walk to the top of the ridge provides spectacular views.

As you make your way down into Endeavour Inlet, you will spy Furneaux Lodge, your first night’s accommodation. You will stay in twin share Endeavour or Resolution Suites.

Dinner will be served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

Day 2

Approximate walking time is 4 hours

After a leisurely breakfast at Furneaux Lodge you may like to take a walk up to the waterfall and see the magnificent stands of virgin native bush. Re join the track as it winds its way around the coastline to the other side of Endeavour Inlet. Prolific birdsong dominate the day as you walk through some regenerating and virgin native bush.

Your accommodation this evening is at Punga Cove Resort in twin share upgrade chalets.

Dinner is served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

 Day 3

Approximate walking time is 8 hours.

Today you walk from Punga Cove to the The Portage along the ridge between Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound. Spectacular views dominate the day as you negotiate the very undulating ridge between the two sounds.

This section is considered the most difficult on the track and clients do need to have a good level of fitness to enjoy this walk.

There is the option to take water transport from Punga Cove to The Portage for those who require a rest!

Upon your arrival at the The Portage , you can enjoy the view overlooking the Keneperu Sound.

You will be staying in twin share Korimako suites, and dinner will be served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

Day 4

Today you can sleep in, rest, relax and enjoy the leisure activities around the Portage Resort Hotel. If you feel like a little more activity you may like to go sea kayaking for the day with your guide.

Join this intimate paddling experience in the Kenepuru Sound, the smallest of the three sounds. As you paddle from the Portage Bay you may visit a mussel farm, paddle past a shipwreck from a bygone era, or experience a chance encounter with dolphins. You will have time to stop on a tranquil beach where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch, go for a swim or a short bush walk, before paddling back to the Portage bay foreshore.

No experience is necessary to enjoy this trip and your guide will ensure that you have a fun, safe sea kayaking experience.

Sea kayaking on day 4 of 5 day guided walk in Kenepuru Sound

Sea kayaking on day 4 of 5 day guided walk in Kenepuru Sound

Day 5

Approximate walking time is 7 hours.

Your final day on the Queen Charlotte Track.

Today you will ascend to a ridgeline track which provides wonderful vistas of the Sounds as you walk along. After Mistletoe Bay, the track sidles along the hill and drops down into Davies Bay before the last half hour through mature beech forest ending at Anakiwa where your water transport will collect you for your return to Picton.

Prices for 2020/21 season (valid 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021)

$2495 per person (including GST)                                                                                                      Single Supplement – $685 per person*

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Our all-inclusive package offers:

  • Pre-trip information
  • Customised eco-tour experience
  • Cheerful, informative guiding
  • Wholesome, high-quality food, and a glass of wine with your evening meal (other alcohol can be paid for directly to the accommodation house)
  • Superior twin-share accommodation with sea views
    (Endeavour Suite at Furneaux Lodge, Frond Suite at Punga Cove Resort and Korimako Room at The Portage)
  • Water transport to and from the track, and transfer of luggage each day
  • Supply of a light day pack & walking pole while on the trip
  • Sea Kayaking on your ‘rest day’
  • Your Queen Charlotte Track Land Co-op Pass

Rates are based on two people sharing an ensuite room.

*Single supplements apply if you are travelling on your own, and wish to have the room to yourself. If you are travelling on your own, and are happy to share with another person, then we will endeavour to pair you up, however there is no guarantee of this occurring, and therefore a single supplement will apply in this instance.

Trip Conditions

  • Booking is subject to accommodation availability on the track.
  • A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to confirm your booking.
  • Final payment is required 30 days prior to departure date.
  • Cancellations received between 30 days and 7 days prior to departure will be eligible to receive a 50% refund of your trip value (excluding the $100 non-refundable deposit).
  • If you cancel your trip within 7 days of departure, we will not be able to provide you with any refund.
  • As you are staying at licensed resorts they request that you do not take alcohol onto the property.
  • Additional water transport costs, if required, are to be met by you.
  • Upon arrival at our office you will be asked to complete a registration form.
  • Any additional costs incurred during your trip, due to illness or accident, are to be met by you.

We understand that due to Covid19, Governments can unexpectedly impose travel bans that disrupt your plans. We have modified our standard terms and conditions to try and provide more flexibility, should you be affected by changes in government restrictions, while at the same time ensuring that we comply with the terms and conditions required by our suppliers.

Please note that we will be recommending, that should changes be required due to travel restrictions, you transfer your booking to a later date (within 12 months of your booking). There is no fee for change of bookings under these conditions.

Our payment, cancellation and refund policy is as follows:

  1. A non-refundable deposit of $100 per person is required to confirm your booking
  2. Full payment is required 30 days prior to departure date.
  3. Cancellations received 30 to 16 days prior to departure date receive – 75% of total package refunded
  4. Cancellations received up to 15 to 8 days from the date of departure – 50% of total package refunded
  5. Cancellations received 7 days or less from date of departure – no refund

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance.  If you are living in NZ, we know it is not commonplace to take out domestic travel insurance, however the investment in your holiday with us can be substantial therefore it is worth considering taking out domestic travel insurance for this purpose.  Companies such as https://www.covermore.co.nz/travel-insurance/domestic-travel-insurance are worth considering.

Departures for 2020/21 Season

Oct: 5, 12, 19, 28
Nov: 3, 9, 16, 23, 30
Dec: 7, 14, 21, 27
Jan: 3, 11, 18, 25
Feb: 1, 9, 15, 22
Mar: 1, 8, 15, 22
Apr: 6, 12, 19

Other dates may be available on request.

Upon booking we send you a detailed pre-trip information sheet which covers what to bring, arrival and departure times and so on.

However, if you would like to know what we recommend you wear or bring on the walk, read on:

  • Strong (broken-in) walking shoes, preferably walking boots
  • Camera
  • Sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Cotton shirts and shorts
  • Good rainproof jacket (not just showerproof)
  • Warm wool or fleece jersey/sweater
  • Money for possible purchases
  • Bathing gear
  • Nightwear
  • Toiletries
  • Handkerchiefs – not tissues
  • Casual change of clothes for the evening

If walking in early spring or late autumn we recommend you also include the following:

  • Woollen socks, hat and gloves
  • Warm wool or fleece pants
  • Warm wool or polypropylene shirts

Is water available on the track while walking?

Drinking water is available at strategic places on the track. Please note however that this water is not regularly tested. We recommend that you walk with your own bottle that holds approximately 1 litre or more which can be topped up each evening at your accommodation.

When is the best time to walk?

The warmest months are December, January and February (summer), and the coldest are June, July and August (winter). In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC, and in winter between 10-15ºC. You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Met Service website: www.metservice.com

What is the difference between the guided and freedom walks?

The guided walks have some added extras that are not included in the standard freedom walk package, such as:

  • a knowledgeable guide, who can ensure you see all the highlights
  • a customised eco-tour experience
  • all meals are included
  • upgraded accommodation
  • post-trip functions

We believe that these added extras provide another dimension to this walking holiday.

We recognise that some people prefer a complete walking holiday, sharing their experience with a group of like-minded people from all over the world and therefore the guided option is the best one. We also appreciate that some people prefer to be independent and walk on their own, or with their group of friends only, therefore we also offer a “freedom” option.

How fit do you have to be to walk the track?

The track is regarded as a “long” track not a “steep” track. Therefore distances each day, particularly on the third and fourth day are long, but if you are moderately fit you should be able to achieve this walk. We do recommend that to enjoy the trip you are of at least average fitness. Fitness levels vary amongst every individual, therefore we suggest that – as a guideline – if you are walking for at least an hour (maybe two) more than four times a week, you should be able to thoroughly enjoy this trip.

Do we have to carry a big pack?

No. It doesn’t matter if you are freedom or guided walking, you only ever have to carry a light day pack because your luggage is transferred each day by water taxi.

Are there Department of Conservation huts to stay in?

No. There are no Department of Conservation (DOC) huts on the Queen Charlotte Track. However, there are resorts, homestays and DOC campsites that you can stay at.

Do you have a question?  Please fill in the form below or, maybe you want to  check availability  before making a booking?

If you are ready to book a trip, then please click the “Book Now” button above which will take you to our check availability page and book now page.

Sometimes it is easier to just pick up the phone and get the answer you need, in which case, please give us a call  on (+64) 03 573 6078, NZ Freephone 0800 283 283, or Australia Freephone on 1800 007 083 anytime.  We are usually contactable by phone from 8.00am to 10.00pm (NZ time) each day.

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