The Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds has rapidly become known as the finest and most diverse coastal track in New Zealand.
It is located at the top of the South Island, near the famous Marlborough wine region and accessed by boat from Picton to its beginning at the scenic and historic reserve of Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound. This is an area steeped in both Maori and European history. Today the stunning Marlborough Sounds are known as a maritime and eco-tour haven – popular all year round with sailors, hikers, trekkers, mountain bikers, adventure seekers and eco-tourists.
The Queen Charlotte Track is 70km long and most people walk the track over four days, although there is the ability to do any combination from one to five days. One of the advantages of this walk is the option to catch a water taxi if on any given day you decide not to walk. And you need walk only with a day pack as your overnight luggage goes onwards by water taxi each day.
The track is also popular with mountain bikers and certain sections are able to be biked all year round. Most sections of the track are wide and benched and all the major streams have been bridged. There is one swing bridge which is wide and sturdy. Boots and a good level of fitness are recommended for this track. Running shoes or walking sandals may also be suffice during the height of summer.
Just ask us about current track conditions and we’ll be happy to advise you!
Queen Charlotte Track options are many and varied to suit your fitness level and tastes.
Wilderness Guides offer the most extensive range of guided walking and independent hiking packages to experience the Queen Charlotte Track – available here to book online today. Our boutique lodge guided walk was even rated as one of the 25 Best New Trips in the World 2008 by National Geographic Adventure Magazine!
As Queen Charlotte Track specialists, the tours featured on this website offer value for money, exceptional service and a commitment to the track environment. Both independent and guided walk options from one day to multi days are available depending on the style of experience you prefer.
As a general rule, if you would like an upmarket tour with an emphasis on gourmet food and wine with everything provided including interpretation on the area, then a guided walk is for you. Guided walks are for those who want to complement their walking experience with the knowledge and security of a professional local guide, great gourmet food and local wine, and superb track accommodation.
If you are more independent of spirit but would still like certain elements such as your accommodation, transport and daily lunch arranged, then the independent packages offer this. Unguided track packages are for more independent hikers, who wish to walk the track independently but have certain elements like accommodation, water transport and daily lunches pre-arranged.
Or, perhaps you want a custom package designed – we can do that for you too!
The track is administered by the Department of Conservation but relies on the goodwill of a number of private landowners through whose land it passes. As part of your guided or independent walk package, $18 goes to the Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative (QCTLC), which was formed in 2010 to help ensure the sustainability of the 70km track and to ensure that this will always be a place of rare beauty and freedom. Private landowners make their land available for your hiking and biking enjoyment for this small fee, which helps with maintenance, improvements and access. Please respect the land made available for your enjoyment through this very special public/private partnership.
Another offering for all our independent walkers is a guided visit to the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound prior to starting your walk at Ship Cove. For an additional $115 per person on any of our independent walk packages, join with one of our knowledgeable local guides to visit this rarely visited sanctuary accessed by boat en route to the start of the track and experience a close encounter with New Zealand wildlife.
Motuara Island has a new loop track, a lookout with spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding islands, Cook Strait and the North Island on a clear day as well as some amazing birdlife including South Island Saddleback (Tieke) which is extinct on the New Zealand mainland as well as friendly bush robins, little blue penguins and stately wood pigeons (kereru).
It truly is a special addition to your Queen Charlotte Track experience - all you need to do is select this tour extra on booking.
For further information on the walking packages available, please click on the specific trip links provided and come experience the Queen Charlotte Track with Wilderness Guides. While most of our tours require a minimum of two persons, if you are a solo traveller be sure to contact us to check if we have a guided trip departing as we often have tours available to join.