Queen Charlotte Track


Walking or biking the Queen Charlotte Track is a spectacular way of experiencing the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds.

Queen Charlotte Track

The 70km track follows the coast of Queen Charlotte Sound from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa. It passes through coastal forest, beside secluded coves and beaches, through farmland and traverses skyline ridges with unsurpassed views of both Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. It is suitable for most ages and abilities although a reasonable degree of fitness is recommended if you are going to walk the entire track. Water taxi options are available for those wishing to miss some of the harder days however.

Suggested Itineraries For Walks
Please note – your boat will take you from Picton to Ship Cove to start the walk, and pick you up at Anakiwa at the end of the walk. The boats will also deliver you to and pick you up from (or nearby) any of the places listed below if you prefer a shorter walk.

FOUR DAY WALK – for the average walker

  Start Finish Distance Avg Time
Day One Ship Cove Head of Endeavour Inlet 16 Kms 4 – 5 hours
Day Two Head of Endeavour Inlet Mahana 11 Kms 3.5 – 4 hours
Day Three Mahana Portage Bay 24 Kms 7 – 7.5 hours
Day Four Portage Bay Anakiwa 22km 6.5 - 7 hours

Track Packages

Mahana Lodge is located at the end of Day 2, on the southern side of Endeavour Inlet, and offers convenient accommodation for track walkers and bikers. We can arrange either just your accommodation or your entire track package including water transport to Ship Cove, luggage transfers, accommodation throughout your track experience, packed lunches and meals. A pass is required for some sections of the track that cross private land – we can assist with this as well.

Ship Cove

Ship Cove is the start of the Queen Charlotte Track and is a historic place of national significance. In 1770 Captain James Cook, an early English explorer, used Ship Cove as an anchorage and resting place for his men. Between 1770 and 1777 he spent more than 100 days here on a total of five visits – this was the first contact of significance between the local Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, and the English colonialists.

What to Bring

If you are walking or biking the track don’t forget to have with you sun block, sun hat, insect repellent, wet weather gear (even in summer) good walking shoes, water, snacks for food along the way – although you can get your main meals at lodges on the track -and a good torch/flashlight (just in case). There are sections of the track where there is no cell phone coverage, so you won’t be able to rely on your mobile phone.

Luggage Transfers

A wonderful feature of the Queen Charlotte Track is the ability to walk each day with a small pack while your overnight luggage goes by boat. All the water taxi companies offer this service. They ask that you keep your overnight bag to a limit of 15kg as all the luggage has to be lifted by hand on and off boats and along paths and often up ramps or steps to the lodges. It is also helpful if the name on your bag is the same as the name you have given to the lodges.

Biking the Track

The Queen Charlotte Track is open for mountain biking all year round except for the section between Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle which closes for three months in summer – December, January and February. It is regarded as suitable for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers although certain sections are more suitable for novice riders. It is one of New Zealand’s Great Rides and regarded as one of the best multi day tracks in the country. If you don’t have your bike with you, bikes are available for extended track hire from Wilderness Guides in Picton. See www.wildernessguidesnz.com. We have courtesy mountain bikes here at Mahana for guests keen to tackle some short rides along the track. Mahana Lodge is an Official Partner of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.