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Queen Charlotte Track

4 Days & 3 Nights 5 Read 2 reviews
  • Walk amidst New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds on the Queen Charlotte Track
  • Ship Cove, favourite anchorage of Captain Cook in the 1770s
  • Walk skyline ridges with unsurpassed coastal views amidst forest reserves
  • Bays, inlets, islands and peninsulas rising from turquoise waters
  • Picton, a picturesque harbour town and gateway to this classic track
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand’s most diverse coastal long-distance trail. Steeped in both Maori and European history it meanders over skyline ridges with constant views of the Marlborough Sounds. Lush forested hills rise steeply from the sea with sheltered coves and sandy bays never far away. Ship Cove, where the trail begins, was Captain Cook’s favorite place to anchor in the 1770s and according to Maori legend, these landscapes are the prows of sunken canoes belonging to Aoraki, their sacred ancestor. Pause for a dip in the turquoise waters and enjoy the superb food and the local Marlborough wine, which this area is famous for.

What To Expect

This moderately rated tour immerses you in the stunning coastal landscapes of the Marlborough Sounds, located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. By night, stay in very comfortable accommodations along the trail all in stunning locations, and during the day, walk along ridgelines with unsurpassed views of lush green wilderness. You can also enjoy the wine of the region with dinner which is world-famous.

Trip Type:

Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!


Hut to Hut Walking | Walk from hut to hut, changing accommodation each night

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Long-Distance Trails
  • Winter Sun
  • Coastal Walking

Grade & Terrain

Most sections of the track are wide and any major streams have been bridged. There is one swing bridge located at Endeavour Inlet but it is wide and sturdy. This tour is rated moderate and enjoyment of any walk is better if you have a reasonable degree of fitness – that does not mean you need to be a marathon runner! If you are active 2 or 3 times a week (walking, golfing, running, gym) then this is an excellent base for doing a multi-day walk like the Queen Charlotte Track. In the lead up to the trip, try to do at least one long walk (up to 8 hours) and also some hill walking as the Queen Charlotte Track does have some steeper sections. Keep in mind the longest day also has an optional boat ride for those who want a day of rest.


This track is well signposted and marked. We also provide a track guide and GPX tracks are accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone if you wish.

Accommodation Information

All the accommodations whilst you are on the trail are included in the price of this tour, including your stay at Furneaux Lodge, Punga Cove and the Portage Resort - they are all a comfortable standard and are set in the stunning backdrop of the Queen Charlotte track. Please note there will be an extra payable supplement required for a twin room share in Punga Cove. 

On this standard 4-day tour you will however need to book your own accommodation on your arrival and onward travel day in Picton (there are plenty of options and motels are of a good standard in New Zealand as compared to other countries).

Please let your adventure specialist know what accommodation you have booked in Picton so we can arrange the included transfers to/from the water taxi departure point as well as your luggage.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. We welcome solo walkers on the Queen Charlotte Track, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo and there is also a solo supplement payable.


  • Included in price: Whilst hiking on the Queen Charlotte Track 4x packed lunches will be provided for you.
  • Not Included in price: Breakfast has to be paid for locally at your accommodation whilst on the track as well as your evening meal/dinner. Some of the accommodations provide a more casual dining experience should you want to choose that over a more formal experience.
  • 3 Nights in comfortable lodges
  • Transfers from your Picton accommodation to and from the water taxi the morning of your departure and vice versa
  • Water taxi to the start of the track and from the end of the track
  • Packed lunch on each walking day
  • Baggage transfers
  • Pre-trip briefing from local hosts
  • Track Guide and Information Pack
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
  • 24-7 Emergency telephone support
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Accommodation in Picton (pre and post tour)
  • Travel to and from Picton
  • Breakfasts & Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal necessities
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
  • Additional nights
  • Rental Car

When To Go

The Queen Charlotte Track is very popular and therefore you will have to book quite far in advance in order to be successful for us to confirm the dates you request, especially if you wish to travel in the height of the season which is February and March. You can take this tour anywhere between September and May.  To avoid disappointment please try to plan your trip well in advance (at least 6-9 months), if possible. 

The months of January, February and March, 2023 are particularly busy and in order to confirm a booking during these months it may be necessary to alter the standard itineraries which may involve the changing of some inclusions, overnights etc. 

The best time of year to walk the Queen Charlotte Track is between September and May, during the spring, summer and Autumn/fall months. The weather will be more settled during these times of year, although it can be unpredictable at any time of year.

Getting to the Start

You can fly into and out of Wellington International Airport and then after this you can take a short flight of 25 minutes (on Soundsair) to Picton Airport. From Picton Airport you can take a bus or taxi to the town centre. Or you can take the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton.  The easiest way to get to the ferry from the airport is to take a taxi, but there are also local buses.

If you are renting a car, it is best to pick up a car in Picton after the walk as the ferry with the car is quite expensive. 

It is also possible to fly into either Christchurch or Auckland Airports and then take short flights to Marlborough Airport in Blenheim. From this airport, you can take a taxi to Picton for around 20NZD and the journey takes about 20-25 mins.

* Please be aware that when booking flights from the UK to New Zealand you will arrive 2 days after you set off and on return you will arrive 1 day after you set off. So, for example, if you leave on a Tuesday you will arrive on a Thursday and on return if you leave on a Saturday you will arrive home on the Sunday. This is obviously because of the time it takes to get there but also because you are travelling back and forth across the International Date Line. Similar principles apply when travelling from other places in Europe and from the USA and Canada. Please make sure that when you book you take this into consideration so that you are arriving on the correct day that the tour begins.

Getting from the End

When leaving Picton you can do the same things in reverse.

Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person. On Day 2 you will need to take it with you to the water taxi, then it will be moved to Furneaux Lodge. On the final day, it will be transferred all the way back to your accommodation in Picton (Please let your adventure specialist know your overnight accommodation in Picton so we can arrange this in advance).

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

How far in advance do I need to book?
How fit do I need to be?
How do the baggage transfers work?
What equipment do I need?
Why isn't Breakfast included in the Standard version of the Queen Charlotte Track?


Day 1 Transfer to Picton Waterfront. Water Taxi to Ship Cove. Walk to North Eastern Side, Endeavour Inlet 9.5 miles / 15 km Day 2 Walk to South Eastern Side, Endeavour Inlet/Punga Cove 8 miles / 12 km Day 3 Walk to Portage Bay 15 miles / 23 km Day 4 Walk to Anakiwa, Take water taxi back to Picton. Proceed with Onward Travel Plans 13 miles / 20.5 km

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