Queen Charlotte Track

Mind-blowing views of beautiful bays and inlets, sparkling turquoise waters, little private beaches and lush native forest. Combine this with great lodge accommodation plus plenty of transportation options and there’s no wonder that this tramp in the Marlborough Sounds is one of the best loved in the country.

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Activity in brief

12 - 71 km
3 - 4 days
Start - End:
Ship Cove - Anakiwa

Terrain: Moderate climbs but generally a wide and well maintained track

Accommodation: Private Lodges

Nearest Town: Picton

Activity Overview

The Queen Charlotte Track winds through 71Km of The South Island’s Marlborough Sounds: an amazing geographic feature made up of hundreds of waterways that were once river valleys, but have since been ‘drowned’ by rising sea levels. Between these beautiful bays and inlets the hills and mountains climb steeply and feature a mixture of different environments from ancient rainforest and regenerating native bush to farmland and commercial forestry. Lots of native birds also call this area home. This is also an area steeped in history with remains old Maori settlements and of course Ship Cove – surely one of the most beautiful spots in the country – where Captain Cook made his base in the South Pacific.

The tramp itself winds around this twisting coastline and climbs hills and ridges, at times offering superb panoramic views and at others tantalising glimpses though the forest to the sparkling, clear turquoise sea. Maybe you can find a secluded beach and take a dip. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals too!

One of the great attractions of this walk, and one of the reasons for its popularity, is how civilised it is. Each night you stay in a waterside lodge, with a hot shower, a proper bed and an excellent dinner. You even get your luggage transported along the track for you!


Personalised Itineraries

Personalise your Queen Charlotte Track Walk:

Water taxis allow for great flexibility, allowing you to walk the Queen Charlotte Track in a way that suits you; starting or finishing your walk in a place of your choosing or even missing out a section if you like - this is an especially useful feature if you have younger kids with you. 

It’s also possible to combine your walk with some mountain biking and kayaking too: this gives a really different perspective on this awesome part of New Zealand!

There are fully guided and catered options too if you are really looking to push the boat out!

Contact us and we can help you with some great advice and also organise all the details for you.

Include the Queen Charlotte Track in your unique Multi-Activity Trip:

You can combine this walk with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.

OR SIMPLY BOOK this trip now...
Four Day Independent Walk
  • All accommodation and transportation for the track included.
  • Luggage transfers between lodges included.
  • Includes packed lunches on Days 2, 3 & 4.
  • Track Pass included.

Day One: Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge (15km 4 - 5 Hours). Your first day starts in the morning with a water taxi ride out to historic Ship Cove. The trail starts off quite steeply and winds through a mixture of stunning old-growth podocarp and beech forest. Resolution Bay is a great place for lunch and then on to Endeavour Inlet and your first night on the trail at Furneaux Lodge.

Day Two: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove (12km 3-4 Hours). This coastal section of track is the shortest and easiest of the entire trip. It takes you around the beautiful Endeavour Inlet from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Resort for your second night.

Day Three: Punga Cove to Portage Bay (25km 7-8 Hours). You'll be thankful for the easy nature of the previous day because this is a challenging section. Your hard work will be rewarded though because truly spectacular views greet you at every corner. At the end of the day you descend to Portage Bay where you discover a new part of the Marlborough Sounds too - Kenepuru Sound - and spend your final night on the track at your choice of Portage Resort or the very relaxing Hopewell Lodge, truly a world away from everything! (see accommodation section below for more details - lodge choice dependent on availability).

Day Four: Portage Bay to Anakiwa (20km 6 Hours). The final day on the trail takes you to the end of the Sound at Anakiwa. From Portage you start with a decent climb, but then you get to enjoy a lovely walk through mature native bush, with the water sparkling through the trees below you. This is certainly a fitting finale to this wonderful hike. You will be returned by boat from the Anakiwa Jetty to Picton, arriving back by late afternoon.

Pricing: Four Day Independent Walk

From NZD$860 per adult and from NZD$420 per child (15 years old or younger).

Includes all accommodation, pack lunches on days 2, 3 and 4, all water taxi transportation, daily luggage transfers and QCTLC private land access pass.



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Activity Planning

When to go

This tramp can be completed year round. The climate in this part of the South Island is generally one of the sunniest in the country, although bad weather and especially strong winds can pop up at any time of year. The busiest time on the track is of course during the warmest months from November through to the end of March.

What to bring

Wet weather gear

Stout boots or walking shoes


Water bottle


Insect repellant

First-aid kit


Communication device

Accommodation on the trail


Furneaux Lodge

This lodge is one of the most historic buildings in the Marlborough Sounds, and is a stunning place to spend time relaxing. The accommodation has been very recently renovated and is made up of snug chalets over looking the waterfront. Most have seperate ensuite bedrooms, lounges and kitchenettes. The restaurant and bar does great food and is a great place to meet some of the locals!

Punga Cove Resort

Punga Cove has the most incredible setting amongst native forest and overlooking a lovely bay. Its the perfect get-away-from-it-all location. Ensuite accommodation is found dotted among the bush and has been recently renovated. The restaurant is one of the best in the sounds and there's also a more informal wharf-side bar - great for toasting the end of your day!

Portage Resort

The Portage Hotel is beautifully located over-looking the Kenepuru Sound. There's a great bar and restaurant to relax at the end of the day, a pool and well appointed, ensuite accommodation in chalets.

Hopewell Lodge

Surrounded by native forest and turquoise waters of Kenepuru Sound, Hopewell represents the perfect retreat. Rooms are ensuite and also feature a large balcony with wonderful sea views. Breakfast and awesome dinners are available (mussel cook ups or pizza from the wood fired oven are common). Return water taxi transport from Portage Bay also included.


Accommodation in Marlborough

We can organise your accommodation in the wider Marlborough region for before and after your walk if you wish. Please let us know what sort of accommodation you are looking for when you make your booking for this activity, and we can discuss the options with you.

Blenheim Airport Transfers

We can arrange return on demand transportation for you between Blenheim Airport and Picton - please contact us for more information.

Four Day Independent Walk - Water Taxi

After a morning briefing in Picton, you step aboard a fast and safe launch in the pretty town of Picton for a gorgeous hour long cruise along Queen Charlotte Sound up to the start of the trail at Ship Cove.

If you are staying at Hopewell Lodge on your last night you will also be transported the short boat ride from Portage Bay across Kenepuru Sound to the lodge.

At the end of the walk you will be returned to Picton by boat from the main finish point at Anakiwa. 

Also if you're out on the track, and decide you've had enough, then you can be picked up by water taxi at various points, so there is always an escape route! We can sort this out for you at any time you wish.

Personalised Itineraries - Water Taxi

For a truly personalised walk you can get boat transfers to skip various sections of the track if you wish, or finish the trail early - this is especially useful of you have younger kids with you. We can advise you on your best options when you make your booking. 

Route Map
Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

Enquire Now