Stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, this 72km 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.
Trip Departure Time: 8.00am
Trip Return Time: 4.30pm
Duration: 5 days
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 the Marlborough Sounds in all its glory, up close and personal and in comfort 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. Explore stunning, secluded 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.
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 guides who 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 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 historic areas in the Sounds as it was Capt James Cook’s preferred base during his exploration of Aotearoa.
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. Re-join 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.
Approximate walking time is 8 hours.
Walking distance: 24.5kms Punga Cove Resort to The Portage
Today you walk from Punga Cove to the The Portage along the ridge between Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound. This section of the track is unashamedly about the view 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.
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.
This intimate paddling experience takes place 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.
Approximate walking time is 7 hours.
Walking distance: 20kms The Portage to Anakiwa
Your journey today involves an easy ascent to the ridgeline, where you will be amazed by the incredible views. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.