New Zealand Travel Agents Australia Travel Agents specialists in planning New Zealand Holidays Specialists in planning Australia Holidays

New Zealand Travel Agents and Australia Travel Agents

Specialists in New Zealand Holidays and Australia Holidays

Wilderness Guides Picton
Queen Charlotte Track Marlborough Sounds New Zealand Index
  • Overview
  • Hiking
  • Hike/Kayak
  • Lodging
  • Prices/Enquiry

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.

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!

Guided Walks

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.

Independent Walks

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.

Hiking options please click on the links below for detailed itineraries, walking distances and walking times. Please click on the following link to use the enquiry form to contact us for scheduled departure dates.

Guided Hikes

4 days

4 Day Classic Guided Hike

4 Day Deluxe Guided Hike

4 Day Guided Hike - 5 Star accommodation

5 Days

5 Day Classic Guided Hike

5 Day Deluxe Guided Hike

Independent Hikes

3 Days

3 Day Classic Independent Hike

4 Days

4 Day Standard Independent Hike

4 Day Upgrade Independent Hike

4 Day Independent Hike - 5 star accommodation

5 days

5 Day Standard Independent Hike

5 Day Upgrade Independent Hike

4 Day Classic Guided Walk and Kayak

If you like the idea of walking the Queen Charlotte Track and sea kayaking the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, this this is the tour for you. Walk the first two days of the track from Ship Cove as far as Camp Bay then trade hiking boots for water shoes and explore by kayak. Each night come to rest at iconic lodges – Furneaux Lodge, Punga Cove and Lochmara Lodge - all with a restaurant, comfortable accommodation and a superb setting. Be part of a small walking and kayaking group and enjoy great food and wine, discerning service and the knowledge of our local guides. Your track experience is made all the more easy by the Queen Charlotte Track’s unique water taxi pack transfer system leaving you to walk with just a day pack. Walking and kayaking – two great ways to experience the Queen Charlotte Track.

Day 0 A pre-tour briefing is held the day prior to departure. Details will be forwarded with your booking confirmation.

Day 1 – Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, Endeavour Inlet via Motuara Island

We collect you from your accommodation in Picton this morning, introduce you to your Wilderness Guide and then depart on the boat trip to Motuara Island for a tour en route to Ship Cove. Learn about the fascinating marine life of this area along the way and, if we are lucky, see dolphins as well! Enjoy a short walk on Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary to the lookout – this affords spectacular 360 degree views of the Marlborough Sounds – and encounter many of New Zealand’s endangered bird species including the South Island Saddleback (Tieke).

Arrive late morning at Ship Cove to begin the Queen Charlotte Track. This scenic and historic reserve was a favourite anchorage for Captain Cook during his explorations in the 1770s as well as being a site of significance for local Maori. Bush is mainly a mixture of stunning podocarp and beech forest with punga ferns and other New Zealand native foliage. This day is regarded as the premier section of the Queen Charlotte Track. Your walk concludes at the historic Furneaux Lodge. NB. The visit to Motuara Island is weather dependent – as there are no toilets or shelter on the island.

Day 2 – Endeavour Inlet to Camp Bay/Punga Cove

Today’s coastal walk takes you from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove through mostly regenerating native bush to the call of bellbirds, fantails and other New Zealand native birds. From Furneaux Lodge, the track continues through native bush and over a small swing bridge to the head of Endeavour Inlet. Pause there to learn more about antimony & the mining industry that thrived there in the 1880s. Follow the main track onwards and into Big Bay where pristine native beech forest awaits before working your way towards Camp Bay and, five minutes on from there, your accommodation for the evening at Punga Cove.

Day 3 – Water taxi from Punga Cove to Torea Bay/Kayak to Lochmara Lodge

This morning you will be collected by water taxi from Punga Cove, meet your Wilderness Guide for the kayaking leg and then enjoy a cruise around the Queen Charlotte Sound to Torea Bay. Your guide will take you through an extensive safety briefing and instruction prior to departing. Once paddling on the sheltered waters, learn more about the history of the sunken valleys of the Marlborough Sounds and the wildlife that you see. Lunch is a picnic of Marlborough fare on one of the uninhabited beaches along the way. Paddle time is around four hours to Lochmara Lodge.

Day 4 – Lochmara Lodge to Picton

Farewell Lochmara Lodge and, once on the water, paddle in and out of the secluded bays and idyllic coves towards the Grove Arm of Queen Charlotte Sound. Here bush overhangs the water's edge - forest green against the azure blue of the Sound. After a sumptuous lunch, we either paddle into Picton Harbour or nearby Ngakuta Bay – paddle time is around four hours. NB. Actual routes may vary depending on weather conditions - we choose the safest and most enjoyable kayaking route on the day but plan to arrive back to Wilderness Guides HQ by 3.30pm.

Day Distance Time
1 15 km 5 hrs
2 11.5 km 4 hrs
3 12 to 15 km 4 hrs
4 12 to 15 km 4 hrs


Mahana Lodge

Your hosts John and Ann have shaped Mahana into an oasis for the weary with its delightfully restored historic homestead and purpose built hiker lodge with four ensuite rooms and shared guest lounge. Visit John’s extensive organic vegetable garden, enjoy free range eggs and dine this evening on the deck, soaking up the beautiful views whilst enjoying a delicious home cooked meal.

Raetihi Lodge

Since the 1930s, Raetihi Lodge has built a reputation as one of the most popular destinations in the Marlborough Sounds. Extensively rebuilt, our accommodation and facilities are rated 4 star plus Hosted Qualmark with luxury and comfort amidst the serenity and nature of the Marlborough Sounds.

Furneaux Lodge

Furneaux Lodge offers a range of accommodation depending on your requirements. Our recently built waterfront suites are contemporary one bedroom apartments, and are absolutely private with stunning views. The self-contained two bedroom chalets have panoramic views and are great for family groups and people hiking the Queen Charlotte Track.

Furneaux Lodge upgrade

Built early this century, Furneaux Lodge comprises the original historic homestead now home to the restaurant and bar as well as separate fully self-contained chalets and upmarket studio units with sea views in a delightfully picturesque setting. Furneaux Lodge has an excellent restaurant for dinner and breakfasts. Our independent walkers stay in the upmarket studio suites with private ensuite and views out to the bay.

Bay of Many Coves

At the Bay of Many Coves, there is a casual waterfront café, a guest lounge and the Foredeck fine-dining restaurant where you can savour the delights of fresh local seafood and produce, with specially selected wines from Marlborough’s leading vintners and international labels. Of course you can soak up the serenity in the Cedar Hot Tub and indulge in a treatment at the Day Spa too. And then, there’s the view: there are few places in the world that offer such a luxurious, mouth-watering, sensory combination.

Punga Cove Resort

Set amongst stunning scenery in the magnificent waterways of New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds, Punga Cove is the perfect retreat for people wanting to relax in style.

Punga Cove upgrade

Nestled amidst the native bush, Punga Cove’s well-appointed individual chalets have views to the bay beyond and are a welcome respite after a day’s walk. The restaurant where you dine for dinner and breakfast has an impressive view from its position high on a promontory over Endeavour Inlet. Your accommodation is the Tui A-frame-style chalets each with a private balcony and ensuite.

Lochmara Lodge

Set on the tranquil shores of the Queen Charlotte Sound, Lochmara Lodge features quality accommodation as well as aviaries and enclosures with endangered species, an organic vegetable garden and orchard, educational signage, sculpture trail and art gallery. Our guided walks stays in the Bellbird, Kotuku and Fantail units all with en suite and water views.

Lochmara Lodge upgrade

Set on the tranquil shores of the Queen Charlotte Sound, Lochmara Lodge features quality accommodation as well as aviaries and enclosures with endangered species, an organic vegetable garden and orchard, educational signage, sculpture trail and art gallery. Our independent walkers stay in the luxurious Kakariki suites, each with ensuite and view to the sea.

Portage Hotel

The Portage Hotel is nestled at the narrowest point between Queen Charlotte & Kenepuru Sounds with a wonderful view into Kenepuru Sound. This well-established accommodation place has a reputation for a fine restaurant and features natural timber chalets. This package includes accommodation in basic Courtyard ensuite-style units.

Portage Resort upgrade

The Portage Hotel is nestled at the narrowest point between Queen Charlotte & Kenepuru Sounds with a wonderful view into Kenepuru Sound. This well-established accommodation place has a reputation for a fine restaurant and features natural timber chalets. This package stays in basic Courtyard ensuite rooms.

For prices and enquiries

Please click here

This activity is also available as part of one of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

DesigNZ on Travel

Contact Us - About Us - Sitemap - Testimonials - Insurance - Terms
New Zealand Travel Agents - New Zealand Holidays - New Zealand Accommodation
New Zealand Activities - New Zealand Walking Holidays - New Zealand Motor Home Holidays
Australia Travel Agents - Australia Holidays - Australia Accommodation - Australia Activities
Australia Walking Holidays - Australia Motor Home Holidays