trip
4
Introductory to Moderate
Activities
  • self-guided walk
Accommodation
  • 1 night motel, 3 nights lodge
Meals
  • 4 Lunches
  • 1 Breakfast

5 Days$USD

Hit the trails with confidence

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: GQC

Trip highlights


  • Hike the full Queen Charlotte Track over four days at your own pace
  • Scenic boat trip along Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Enjoy a comfortable bed and hot shower in scenic locations after a day on the trail
  • Varied walking along shorelines and up onto ridge tops, through native forest and with panoramic views
  • Visit Meretoto/Ship Cove, significant as a landing place and safe haven for explorers in both Maori and European history

Whether you subscribe to the Maori legends or geological processes that formed the Marlborough Sounds, its network of sunken river valleys, islands and maze of peaks, intricate bays, coves and beaches is truly unique in New Zealand. There is no better way to learn some of its history while taking in the superb natural beauty of the region than by exploring the Queen Charlotte Track on foot. Walk the entire length of this meandering 70 km multi-use trail, taking as much time as you choose each day then staying each night in cosy lodges with all the comforts you need. The views are superb, the vegetation is diverse and the walking varies from low level coastline to moderate ridgelines no higher than 500m above sea level. Access to the track relies on the cooperation of local landowners as the track crosses a combination of private land and public nature reserves. It is a privilege to visit this land. Water taxi transfers to and from the trailheads add a different perspective to the experience and allow opportunity to spot marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins, penguins and albatross.


Make your own way to Picton, the gateway to Marlborough Sounds, and check-in to your accommodation any time after 2:00pm. Take some time to stroll along the waterfront of this picturesque seaside town with its sheltered harbour and bustling marina, or take one of several short walks through native bushland for fabulous views over Queen Charlotte Sound. There are many great cafes, restaurants and galleries plus an aqaurium and floating maritime museum.

Meals:  Nil

You will be collected this morning from your accommodation and transferred to the Picton waterfront for a trip briefing before departing on your scenic water taxi journey to Ship Cove (approx 1 - 1.5hrs). (During very busy periods, trip briefings will take place the previous evening; exact timing will be advised with your final documents.) Considered one of the most important meeting places between New Zealand Maori and Europeans, the site is a historical reserve. It was a significant place of habitation for local Maori as well as the place where Captain Cook first stepped ashore, and subsequently anchored many times during the 1770's, while exploring the New Zealand coastline. The Queen Charlotte Track commences from here with a gradual steady climb through native bush, including spectacular podocarp and beech forest. With two main ascents and descents today affording wonderful views, plus sections of untouched native forest including a gigantic 1000 year old rimu tree, this day is considered the finest section of the whole track. Concluding at historic Furneaux Lodge, where you spend the night, this truly is a fantastic day. Optional add-ons: 1. To visit Motuara Island Scenic Reserve in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound, on the way to Ship Cove, it is necessary to take an earlier water taxi from Picton (8:00am) to the island. This allows about 1 - 1.5 hours on the island before being collected by the next scheduled water taxi at around 10:30am, which will take you across the bay to Ship Cove to start your walk. The island is predator free and is a sanctuary to many endangered native species such as the South Island Saddleback (Tieke) and the Marlborough green gecko. A track on the island takes you to a lookout with superb views. 2. For full interpretation on the area as an introduction to your hike, a guide can be arranged to join you for today only (additional cost applies). Please ask us for details.

Meals:  L

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning as today’s walk is shorter and easier than yesterday. From Furneaux Lodge the track follows the coastline all day, with lovely views of the inlet as you trace its shore. Passing through nature reserve, regenerating native forest and farmland there is also some history along the way. Information panels at the head of Endeavour Inlet describe local antimony mining operations that burgeoned in the 1880's. It is hard to imagine a village of 800 people at that location now. Explore the beach at Camp Bay, nearing the end of today's walk, before passing Punga Cove to reach your accommodation for tonight at the delightful Mahana Lodge. Relax in the peace and tranquility of the gardens while listening to evening birdsong. Note: if Mahana Lodge is not available for your dates, you will have the option to stay at Punga Cove Resort (a small additional charge applies) or choose an alternative date

Meals:  L

Start early today to make the most of every moment as it is the longest day on the whole track. It is also the most challenging but has the most spectacular views which makes the effort worthwhile. Starting near sea level and eventually reaching the highest point on the trail (475m above sea level) there are some steep sections, including the short detour to Eatwell's Lookout, named after a local landowner. The rewards are 360 degree views from the lookout, plus far-reaching panoramas of the Marlborough Sounds at every turn. Following the ridgeline for much of the day, be sure to stop for photos and breathe it all in. This is truly a magic section of the track. From Torea Bay Saddle, the track drops down to your accommodation tonight at Portage Hotel, surrounded by native bush and with more superb views over Kenepuru Sound from your room. Optional add-on: it is possible to take a boat trip from Mahana Lodge to Torea Bay, which then requires about a 30 min walk over the hill to Portage Hotel, if you don't feel like walking much today (additional cost applies). NOTE: if you choose the all-inclusive upgrade package, tonight's accommodation is at Lochmara Lodge. The walk today ends at Torea Bay, from where you will be collected by water taxi and transferred to Lochmara Lodge.

Meals:  B,L

Ascend from the Portage Hotel to the main track on the ridgeline once again this morning. There is a steep climb for a couple of hours from here but once again the views are rewarding as you look towards Picton. This is the steepest part of the trail today and beyond this the walk mostly descends to sea level, with a few undulations along the way. Pass through manuka scrub, open farmland and a final stretch of beautiful beech forest. A picturesque beach in the sheltered Davies Bay provides an opportune place for a last rest before arriving at Anakiwa, the end of the Queen Charlotte Track. Reflect on the last four amazing days while you wait for your water taxi to whisk you back to Picton, arriving in the late afternoon. Trip arrangements end on arrival at the Picton waterfront. NOTE: if you have chosen the all-inclusive upgrade package, today's walk also begins with an ascent from Lochmara Lodge to the main track on the ridgeline. You will avoid the steep part of the track after that, referred to above, but still have fabulous views towards Picton and all the other highlights of the final track section. The overall walk is 4.5 km / 1 hr shorter today than the standard package (total 16km, 6 hours).

Meals:  L


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 1 night motel accommodation in Picton (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 3 nights comfortable lodge along the Queen Charlotte Track (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 1 breakfast, 4 lunches
  • Drinking water
  • Daily luggage transfer - 1 bag/small suitcase per person, must NOT exceed 15kg in weight
  • Information booklet and route map (one per booking)
  • Scenic water taxi transfers between Picton and Queen Charlotte Track trailheads (Ships Cove, Anakiwa)
  • Transfer from hotel in Picton to marina on first day of walk
  • Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative (QCTLC) Track Pass
  • Excess luggage storage if required (or your hotel in Picton can also arrange this)

  • Travel to/from Picton before/after the trip
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks other than water - good drinking water is available at each night's accommodation and at marked locations along the trail
  • Optional activities, extras and upgrades (such as additional water taxi transfers, Motuara Island visit, local guide for first day of walk)
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Daypack (there are limited numbers of 30 - 35L daypacks available to hire (additional cost applies). Please request in advance.
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Accommodation


Trail Surface


Departure dates

Daily departures

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
Winter rates apply from 15 May to 25 September. Please ask for details
1
A side trip to Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary on the way to Ship Cove can be added. Please advise at time of booking so that an earlier departure from Picton on the first day of walking can be arranged.
2
A local guide can be arranged for the first day of walking to set you up for the remainder of the trip. The guide will take care of your needs on this day only and provide interpretation on history, flora and fauna as well as information about the trail in general. Must be requested in advance. Additional cost applies.
3
Upgrade option includes all meals on walking days. Rooms are mostly higher standard ensuite rooms with water views. Children 14 yrs and under are not permitted on upgrade option. The itinerary and properties used vary slightly. Additional cost applies.

Dates or itinerary don't fit?

Create a custom made itinerary for the perfect adventure. Choose when you travel, what you see and where you go.

Total Priceper person from

$USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) hire - per partyUSD$28
  • High season supplement - single room (Dec - Apr)USD$49
  • Public holiday surcharge for guided day walk Ship Cove to Furneaux LodgeUSD$60
  • Chef's Table 3 course dinner experience at Mahana LodgeUSD$60
  • Guided walk Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge onlyUSD$160
  • Child sharing with 2 adultsUSD$330
  • Single SupplementUSD$400
  • Single Traveller SupplementUSD$400
  • Upgrade supplement pp twinshare - meals and upgrade roomsUSD$560
  • Upgrade supplement single room - meals and upgrade roomsUSD$1010
  • Upgrade supplement single traveller - meals and upgrade roomsUSD$1010
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Queen Charlotte Self-Guided Walk trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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