Walking or biking the Queen Charlotte Track is a spectacular way of experiencing the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds.
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
|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|
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Mahana Lodge is standout. It is one of the best places I've stayed in NZ in the last 11 years, and I've travelled around a lot. Beautiful surroundings, well-kept property, great hosts, and comfy well laid out rooms. It is obvious the care that the owners
A wonderful, relaxed stay, and we could not recommend it more highly.
This is a great place to stay when you are hiking the Queen Charlotte track.
I was incredibly impressed and had a very memorable one night stay here while mountain biking the QC track with my partner. Our room (number 4) was just lovely, with a private balcony and a gorgeous view of the inlet.
As the name Mahana suggests – warmth, shelter and hospitality . . . the lodge and surrounding gardens are immaculate. It is a very pretty setting with a private beach. The views from the lounge and kitchen area are breath taking.