Our 4 Day Guided Walk on the Queen Charlotte Track is a true walking holiday. These four days will see you experience the splendour of the entire Queen Charlotte Track – from start to finish. Highlights of the track include breathtaking coastal views and continually changing landscapes as you walk from shoreline to ridgeline and around bays, coves and inlets. The track will take you through virgin native bush and regenerating farmland, with beautiful native birdsong as background music.
Trip Departure Time: 9.00am
Trip Return Time: 4.30pm
Duration: 4 days
You will have the opportunity to experience extraordinary birdlife encounters, witnessing the endangered South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin in their natural habitat, as part of our customised eco-tour of Motuara Island. There will also be the possibility of seeing dolphins and other marine wildlife along the way.
At the end of a long day, you will enjoy the well-deserved comfort and hospitality of resort accommodation, in superior hotel-style rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Strategically located along the track, these resorts provide a comfortable bed and delicious meals. What better way to rest those weary feet.
One of the other wonderful features of this trip is that 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.
Approximate walking time is 5 – 6 hours.
Walking Distance: 17kms
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. If your lucky you may have the opportunity to see the rare South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin, both of which have been re-colonised on to this island sanctuary by dedicated conservationists.
From Motuara Island you will cross the Sound to be dropped off at Ship Cove where you will begin the first stage of your journey on the Queen Charlotte Track. Meretoto/Ship Cove is one of the most historically/significant areas in the Sounds, as it was one of James Cook’s preferred base during his travels around New Zealand. 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/double share Endeavour Suites and enjoy fresh seasonal food onsite in the resort restaurant, accompanied by a glass of world-renowned Marlborough 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. Rejoin the track as it winds its way around the coastline to the other side of Endeavour Inlet. Prolific birdsong, not heard anywhere else in the world, provides a soothing chorus to accompany you on your adventure through virgin native bush.
Your accommodation this evening is at Punga Cove Resort in the twin/double share Frond Suite. Dinner is served in the delightful Punga Fern restaurant with a glass of wine.
Approximate walking time is 8 hours.
Walking distance: 24kms
This section of the track is renowned for its spectacular views of both sounds as walkers negotiate the undulating ridge between Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound. This section is considered the most difficult part of the 4 day journey so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
There is the option to take water transport from Punga Cove to The Portage for those of you who aren’t up to walking the whole section. You can choose to take the boat around to Torea Bay and walk back along the track to meet up with the rest of your party, or you can rest and relax at Portage for the day.
You will be staying in the twin/double share Korimako Rooms, and dinner will be served in the restaurant with a delicious and well-deserved glass of wine.
Approximate walking time is 7 hours.
Walking distance: 20kms
This is your final day on the Queen Charlotte Track, and involves a short ascent to the ridge line in order to rejoin the track. Drink in the vistas of the Sounds until you reach the top of Mistletoe Bay. The track then sidles along the Eastern side of Onahau Bay and you have the opportunity to enjoy a last panoramic view of Queen Charlotte Sound before dropping down into Davies Bay. The last half hour travels through mature beech forest, ending at Anakiwa where your water transport will collect you for your return to Picton.
Arriving in Picton at around 4.30pm, we encourage you to enjoy a farewell get together over a relaxing drink at our base. We genuinely enjoy listening to our guests as they reminisce and relive the magic of the previous four days.
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.
We understand that due to Covid19, Governments can unexpectedly impose travel bans which can 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, that you transfer your booking to a later date (within 12 months of your booking). There is no fee for a change of bookings under these conditions.
Our payment, cancellation and refund policy is as follows:
We strongly recommend that 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
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:
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:
We have had consistently positive feedback from clients regarding the guided walk option, and we truly believe that these added extras provide another dimension to your Queen Charlotte experience.
We recognise that some people prefer a complete walking holiday, sharing their sounds adventure 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.