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Written by
Frances McCann
Frances McCann

Adventure of the Week: Queen Charlotte Track

New Zealand is a country on every adventure-seeker’s agenda. The Queen Charlotte Track is a walk of unsurpassed coastal beauty, in one of the most scenic countries in the world.

Views over Picton

This trek above the Marlborough Sounds is picturesque beyond belief. From the first day, when you will arrive by boat to Ship Cove to begin your adventure (there are no roads leading to the start of this trail), to enjoying a final swim at Davies Bay before your water taxi returns you back to reality… every second is one to treasure.

Coastal wildlife in New Zealand
Expect plenty of opportunities to spot coastal wildlife

In a Nutshell:

Where: At the top of New Zealand’s South Island, the Queen Charlotte Track begins in Ship Cove, a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook in the 1770s.

The Marlborough Sounds are a collection of sunken river valleys surrounded by bays, inlets, & islands. A place of Maori mythology and European history, these coasts are resoundingly beautiful.

Distance: The 70km track is perfect for a 4 day walking itinerary. Due to the terrain, expect some ascent and descent, but this is a non-technical trail suitable for most walkers.

Grade: We have graded this adventure as moderate. It is suitable for most active people, the tracks are primarily wide and easy to navigate. Our 5 night Queen Charlotte Track itinerary includes very comfortable accommodation (in gorgeous settings), and there is even an “in comfort” option for extra comfort, so it really is the best of all worlds.

Why Walk Here?

The views! Gaze over a skyline of turquoise seas, lush green ridges, and winding inlets where the sea meets ancient river valleys. According to Maori legend these landscapes are the prows of sunken canoes belonging to Aoraki, a sacred ancestor.

Turquoise seas viewed from the Queen Charlotte TRack
Turquoise sea views

The Marlborough Sounds area is sparsely populated and hard to access, and your arrival to the track by water only adds to the sense of escape.

An epic trek in one of the world’s most sought after adventure destinations, with comfortable places to rest your head, and cinematic-quality landscapes each day. What’s not to love?

Planning and Preparation

Wellington is the best international airport to arrive, and from there you can take a connecting flight to Picton, or a ferry.

This, along with many of our New Zealand treks, is very popular and accommodation can and will sell out, so we would suggest planning as far in advance as you can.

The weather in this area can be unpredictable at any time of year, but is generally most favourable from September to May.

If you have any questions about the route, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help, or you can view full details of the Queen Charlotte Track itineraries on our website.

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