Where is it?

The Queen Charlotte Track is located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.

It offers a mixture of coastal walking and native bush and winds through the stunning sunken river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds. The track starts at Ship Cove and finishes 70km later at Anakiwa.

Ship Cove is an important historic place where Captain James Cook made his base during his explorations of the South Pacific in the late 1700s. It is also an area of significance for local Maori tribes.

The track is normally accessed by water taxi from Picton where the interisland ferries come and go from Wellington.

Picton is located just 20 minutes drive from Blenheim where there is a regional airport and around two hours drive from Nelson. A small commuter airline, Soundsair, also flies into nearby Picton Airport.

Visitors to the region often enjoy adding on a trip to the nearby Marlborough wine region, renowned for Sauvignon Blanc and with numerous vineyard restaurants to enjoy.

The Queen Charlotte Track runs almost the entire length of Queen Charlotte Sound, traversing the ridgeline between this Sound and the nearby Kenepuru Sound. 

It is steep in parts but with rewarding views along its length. 

There are convenient water taxi options to skip some of the more difficult days of the track and have a day of rest at one of the accommodation properties instead. 

The terrain of the track is undulating with hills ranging from sea level to a maximum of 400 metres. Most of the track is wide and all major streams have been bridged. The surface, being mainly clay soil, is hard and firm in dry conditions but can often be slippery when wet.

Located at the heart of the Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton is a charming seaside village now popular with cruise ship visitors and holiday makers. It is a wonderful place to relax and has many short walks and biking trails nearby.

It has a good range of cafes, restaurants and bars and  a full range of accommodation from backpackers, to motels, hotels and bed and breakfasts. It is a popular holiday spot so booking is recommended ahead of your visit in the high season.

Car storage is readily available, as are shuttles to and from the Picton and Blenheim Airport.

The Queen Charlotte Track is one of New Zealand's iconic walking and biking trails and with its unique blend of comfortable accommodation, fine food and wine, and luggage transfers so you walk with a day pack only, it is popular with all ages and abilities.

Track Map and Elevation