Fodor's Expert Review Queen Charlotte Track

Picton Trail Fodor's Choice

Starting northwest of Picton, the Queen Charlotte Track stretches 70 km (44 miles) south to north, playing hide-and-seek with the Marlborough Sounds along the way. Hike through lush native forests, stopping to swim or take photos along the way. Unlike other tracks, there are no Department of Conservation huts to stay in, just a few camping areas. One beauty of this walk, however, is the variety of other accommodations, including backpackers, lodges, resorts, and homestays. (Booking ahead is advised.) Boat companies Cougar Line or Beachcomber Cruises can drop you at various places for one- to four-day walks (guided or unguided). You can also mountain-bike on this track—it's the longest single track ride in New Zealand. (The outermost section, Ship Cove to Keneperu Sound, is closed to bikes during the busiest walking season from December 1 to February 28.) The boat companies can arrange for you and your bike to be dropped off and picked up at points along the track. For walkers and... READ MORE

Starting northwest of Picton, the Queen Charlotte Track stretches 70 km (44 miles) south to north, playing hide-and-seek with the Marlborough Sounds along the way. Hike through lush native forests, stopping to swim or take photos along the way. Unlike other tracks, there are no Department of Conservation huts to stay in, just a few camping areas. One beauty of this walk, however, is the variety of other accommodations, including backpackers, lodges, resorts, and homestays. (Booking ahead is advised.) Boat companies Cougar Line or Beachcomber Cruises can drop you at various places for one- to four-day walks (guided or unguided). You can also mountain-bike on this track—it's the longest single track ride in New Zealand. (The outermost section, Ship Cove to Keneperu Sound, is closed to bikes during the busiest walking season from December 1 to February 28.) The boat companies can arrange for you and your bike to be dropped off and picked up at points along the track. For walkers and bikers they'll also carry your luggage between overnight stops. Some of the track passes through private land and users are required to purchase a pass for these sections; the funds contribute toward track maintenance.

Though it's relatively easy to access, the track shouldn't be taken lightly. It has steep inclines and long drop-offs, and the weather can be unpredictable. The track is part of Te Araroa, the Long Pathway walking trail that runs the length of New Zealand.

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Trail Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

New Zealand

www.qctrack.co.nz