Our guided “4 Day Paddle & Walk” is a wonderful way to combine two days of walking on the picturesque Queen Charlotte Track with two days of sea kayaking in the fabulous Marlborough Sounds.
Trip Departure Time: 8.00am
Trip Return Time: 4.30pm
Duration: 4 days
On Day One and Day Two you will walk the Queen Charlotte Track (as per our Four Day Guided Walk) – taking in the sights at historic Ship Cove, and admiring the spectacular views along the way. On Day Three you’ll be whisked away by water taxi to Torea Bay where you will kayak in the turquoise waters of the Kenepuru Sound, before paddling back to Portage Resort Hotel for the night. On Day Four you’ll paddle back to Picton via the Grove Arm, past golden beaches, and bush-clad shorelines.
Along the way, you’ll have a chance to see dolphins in their natural habitat and other marine life, and if your are lucky you may catch a rare glimpse of the endangered South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin in their natural habitat. Our knowledgable guide will ensure that you see all the highlights…
Live it up each night at Furneaux Lodge, Punga Cove Resort and The Portage, in hotel-style accommodation with ensuite. Take in the unrivalled views by day as you climb the ridges and make your way down to the shorelines of the many secluded bays. Experience the magic of the Sounds from sea level as you travel by sea kayak, and 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 boat each day.
Approximate walking time is 5 – 6 hours.
Walking Distance: 17kms
Begin your journey on board a Cougar Line catamaran, enjoying a eco-tour with our guide who will share their extensive knowledge of the local sea birds and marine mammals as you travel to Motuara Island in the outer-Queen Charlotte Sound. Here you may get the opportunity to see the rare South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin, who have been re-colonised on this island sanctuary.
From Motuara Island you will cross the Sound to be dropped off at Ship Cove/Meretoto, where you will begin your walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. Ship Cove is one of the most historically important areas in the Sounds, as it was Capt James Cook’s favourite places to stop and replenish his provisions during his numerous voyages.
The track is surrounded by bountiful virgin bush and the accompanying chorus of native birds as you make your way to the top of the ridge and the spectacular views, and 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 Studio Suites and dinner will be served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.
Approximate Walking time is 4 hours
Walking distance: 12.5kms
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, before rejoining the track as it winds its way around the coastline to the other side of Endeavour Inlet. It is easy to imagine that you are walking through a prehistoric forest as you make your way through stunning virgin native bush, accompanied by haunting birdsong.
Your accommodation this evening is at Punga Cove Resort in twin share chalets and dinner is served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.
A water taxi will collect you from your accommodation and transport you to Torea Bay a 30 minute boat ride back towards Picton. From here a bus will transfer you over the hill to the Portage Hotel foreshore on the Kenepuru Sound. Here you will meet your guide (depending on numbers, you may have a different walk guide to sea kayak guide).
Our sea kayaks are large and easy to paddle, as you will be travelling in double kayaks so you can take turns to appreciate the view. After a safety briefing and familiarisation with your sea kayak, you will paddle from the Portage foreshore and spend the day exploring the many bays, coves and inlets of the Keneperu Sound. The bush clad shorelines of the sounds create a wonderful paddling environment and your guide will enjoy sharing their knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area.
At the end of the day you will paddle back to The Portage . Here you will be able to catch up with the rest of your group, who may have been walking from Punga Cove Resort to The Portage.
Accommodation is in twin/double share Korimako suites and dinner is served in the restaurant, with a glass of wine.
This is your final day of fun and relaxation in the Marlborough Sounds.
By now you will be feeling confident and comfortable in your sea kayak and ready for another day of tranquil exploration. Paddling out of Torea Bay, your last day will be spent exploring the Grove Arm, a particularly beautiful part of the Queen Charlotte Sound. You will paddle back to Picton, arriving at around 4.30pm where you will meet up with the rest of your group.
Enjoy a final farewell get together at our base, relaxing drink in hand, and reminiscing about the last four days adventures.
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.
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:
If walking in early spring or late autumn we recommend you also include the following:
For the sea kayaking component of this trip we also recommend you have:
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 Web site at 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:
We believe that these added extras provide another dimension to this walking holiday, however we do appreciate that some walkers prefer to have more independence and therefore the freedom walk may be a better 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, and therefore 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 many other accommodation options available – including resorts, homestays and DOC campsites that you can stay at.
We have never kayaked before, can we still do this trip?
Yes, many of our clients have never sea kayaked before, but find it really easy to do. You may feel a little tired in your shoulders after a day’s paddling, but we do have plenty of stops along the way and the pace is gentle.