Queen Charlotte Track Walks

Queen Charlotte Track Walks

The Queen Charlotte Track

0800 MAILBOAT (0800 62 45 26)

Get up close and personal with one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Queen Charlotte Track (or Walkway) is one of the top ten, finest coastal walking tracks in New Zealand.

This breathtaking track starts at Ship Cove and winds its way through virgin native bush over saddles, along the coast line and up and along ridge lines, offering panoramic views and magnificent scenery.

The entire track can be completed in three to four days (The Great Track & Pack Pass) or choose one of our day walks or mountain bike packages. With the flexibility of our service and extensive local knowledge we can help you to make the most of your Queen Charlotte Track experience.

Queen Charlotte Track & The Marlborough Sound Don't Forget...
Things you may find useful on your trip:
  • Q.C.T.L.C. Pass if crossing private land
  • Food and water (some nearby lodges do meals and snacks; check opening hours)
  • Eftpos card/money (means & snacks at some lodges)
  • Queen Charlotte Track brochure. Download PDF
  • Sunhat, warm clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Bike repair kit (if biking)
  • Warm layer of clothes and hat
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • First aid kit: insect repellent, personal medication (e.g. antihistamine for allergy to wasp stings)
  • Track elevation map PDF
  • Track Accommodation Guide PDF
  • Camera (recommended)
Track Safety

More information on Track Safety can be found on the Department of Conservation website

The Queen Charlotte Track Map

The map below shows the entire length of the Queen Charlotte Track

Department of Conservation Track elevation map

The Queen Charlotte Sound

The Marlborough Sounds were created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels which drowned a series of deep valleys after the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.

There are several Mäori legends about how the coastline was formed. Kupe, a great Mäori warrior, caught a giant octopus in Cook Strait and the ensuing battle formed the waterways and headlands of the Sounds. Another legend says the Marlborough Sounds was the ornately carved prow of a waka (ocean-going canoe).

The sheltered waterways and bountiful food attracted several Mäori migrations prior to the 1840s. Mäori were known to haul their waka over the saddles between the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds to avoid long sea journeys.

On 31st January 1770, Captain James Cook proclaimed British sovereignty at Motuara Island, near Ship Cove. His ships and crews spent more than 100 days in the area in the 1770s and Cook wrote: "The number of Inhabitants hardly exceeds 3 or 400 people, they leive (sic) dispers'd along the Shores in search of their daily (sic) bread, which is fish and firn (sic) roots for they cultivate no part of the lands". (Journals of Captain Cook, 6 February, 1770).

Prior to human habitation, most of the Marlborough Sounds was covered in forest dominated by beech trees (Nothofagus), with lush broadleaf forest in the moister gullies and on coastal flats. Today, the area's vegetation is a mix of original forest remnants, pasture, exotic plantations and regenerating forest.

For more information about this unique part of New Zealand see:

(search Queen Charlotte Sound)