Queen Charlotte Track Map & Marlborough Sounds Overview

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

It runs almost the entire length of Queen Charlotte Sound, traversing the ridge between this Sound and the nearby Kenepuru Sound. It is steep in parts but with many rewarding views along its length. At 70km long, most people choose to walk the track over four or five days, although there is the ability to do any combination from one to five days. 

There are also convenient water taxi options to skip some of the more difficult days of the track and your overnight luggage is transferred for you which makes the experience even more accessible, leaving you to walk with just a day pack.

The Queen Charlotte Track is set in a location steeped in both Maori and European history. It is also popular with mountain bikers and certain sections are able to be biked year round. The Department of Conservation manages the track and 53% of it is on public reserve land. The remainder of the track is on council land (27%) and private land (20%). The track relies on the goodwill of these landowners so be sure to respect their land as you cross it. Since 2010 visitors have been asked to pay a small fee for crossing the private land sections of the track. This acknowledges the long-standing and ongoing commitment of these landowners. Private land access passes are included in all our advertised walking packages. 

The track's terrain is undulating with hills ranging from sea level to a maximum of 475 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 be slippery when wet. Boots are recommended in Spring and in Autumn but strong walking shoes are fine in the height of summer. Just ask us about current track conditions and we’ll be happy to advise you!

For your enjoyment, a good level of fitness is recommended.

Shorter package options are available if your time is limited or you are not able to walk the whole track. Our Queen Charlotte Track options are many and varied to suit your timetable and accommodation tastes.

Guided Walking Packages are for those who want to combine their walking experience with the knowledge and security of a professional local guide, enjoy great gourmet food and local wine, and top-notch track accommodation.

Freedom Walking Packages are for hikers who wish to walk the track independently but with the ease of having certain elements like water transport, accommodation, luggage transfers and daily lunches pre-arranged.