Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track spans 70 km from the historical Ship Cove (Captain Cook´s New Zealand base) to Anikawa on the Queen Charlotte Sound in the Marlborough Sounds area.

The Queen Charlotte Track is not classified as a Great Walk, thus campsites are somewhat easier to  come by as advance reservation is not required. In addition, numerous tour companies provide luggage transfer by boat along the route and comfortable accommodation in hotels is available.  Furthermore, the track itself is of only moderate difficulty: An undulating and furthermore well-maintained trail with no major ascents.  As a consequence, the Queen Charlotte Track attracts a somewhat wider audience than many of the other walks and is indeed one of the most popular tracks in New Zealand.

Queen Charlotte Track
                                  Queen Charlotte Track

The track moves through subtropical forests with views of the Queen Charlotte Sound and strictly speaking, compared to the diversity of many other New Zealand walks I did end up finding Queen Charlotte Track a bit monotonous. From a technical point of view several of the Great Walks are just as easy to walk (such as the nearby Abel Tasman Coastal Track and Heaphy Track) and both offer more scenic variation. However none of these offer the touristic services that the Queen Charlotte Track does.

Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte Track

Boats to Ship Cove/Anakiwa and other points on the track leave several times during the day from Picton Harbor, where outfitters offer all the needed services (including track pass) to walk the Queen Charlotte Track. Campsite tickets available at the nearby DOC office.

My itinerary:
Day 1: Picton-Ship Cove-Camp Bay Campsite.
Day 2: Camp Bay Campsite-Cowshed Bay Campsite
Day 3: Cowshed Bay Campsite-Anakiwa-Picton

Difficulty: 2.

Information, bookings and maps: DOC (Department of Conservation). Queen Charlotte Track official site

Click for photogallery of Queen Charlotte Track (February 2016)

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