Bike the Track
Mountain bike track grades
Intermediate/Grade 3: Steep slopes and / or avoidable obstacles possibly on narrow track and / or with poor traction. There may be exposure at the track’s outside edge.
Advanced/Grade 4: A mixture of long, steep climbs, narrow track, poor traction and obstacles that are difficult to avoid or jump over. Generally exposed at the track’s outside edge. Most riders will find some sections easier to walk.
Expert/Grade 5: Technically challenging. Giant climbs, narrow track and numerous hazards including dangerous drop-offs, sharp corners and difficult obstacles. Expect walking and possibly bike carrying.
Have you biked the Queen Charlotte Track?
Please answer the NZ Cycle Trail Survey – We’d love to hear about your experience.
Renowned for its stunning scenery and challenging terrain the Queen Charlotte Track is a mountain biking experience like no other, and the best part of all your pack is transferred for you, by one of the water transport operators, to your destination so all you have to do is ride.
While the Queen Charlotte Track is regarded as a classic New Zealand walk, the 70 km track is now also regarded as one of New Zealand’s best single track mountain bike rides and became the 21st Great Ride on the Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail in March 2013.
It is the longest piece of continuous single track in the country. The track is graded as intermediate/grade 3 to advanced/grade 4 mountain biking, with sections of expert/grade 5, although this is due to the steep gradient rather than technical riding required.
Most riders will find some sections of the track easier to walk and you will likely need to push your bike in certain parts. If you are fit and experienced at mountain biking, most of the track is very rideable, albeit steep and challenging in certain sections, especially when rain has rendered it slippery and muddy. Less experienced riders may prefer to avoid the ridge-top sections of the central part of the track by riding along Kenepuru Road between Kenepuru Saddle and Portage.
Two days are needed by most riders of reasonable fitness to complete the entire track comfortably. Those with time restrictions or longer to spend can choose to do particular sections or spread the ride over a leisurely three to four days.
Biking on the track is permitted all year round except for the section between Meretoto/Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle, which is closed to bikes over the busy summer season from 1 December to 28 February each year.
In accordance with New Zealand Cycle Trail policy, e-bikes are not permitted on trails graded 4 and above. Responsibility for e-bike use on the Queen Charlotte Track remains with the individual rider.
There are no facilities along the way for repairing bikes so please ensure you have adequate tools and equipment and are competent to complete your own repairs.
Download your Track Map here.
Need to repair your bike in Picton or on the Queen Charlotte Track?
These operators will be able to assist you!
Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company (Picton) – We offer mountain bike servicing for riders on the track, or pre and post ride. We have a mountain bike repair office at our base on the Picton Waterfront and store parts for mountain bikes. Riders can contact us while on the track and we can send parts out to them if required, or they can send bikes in and hire a bike from us while theirs is getting repaired. All of this is available subject to availability for bikes and parts.
Beachcomber Cruises (Picton) – Our company has 8 vessels cruising around the Sounds, so if people need to get transport off the track, or bike parts taken to them we would drop off at the closes point for them to pick up
Wilderness Guides (Picton) – We often help bikers who have not hired bikes from us with pumping up tyres and assisting with minor bike fixes. We can also sell tyre tubes. For major repairs we can arrange collection of bikes by courier to be taken to Blenheim to Bike Fit who do all our major servicing. So we are happy to help bikers in any way we can.
Miners Farmstay & Campground (Endeavour Inlet) – We have fixed a few bikes, mainly chains needing links and will help anyone if they need it.
Cougar Line (Picton) – We transport spare parts supplied by the Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company (next door to us) if requested.
Sea Kayak Adventures (Anakiwa) – We can help out with any bike problems in Anakiwa, Portage Bay and even sometime Mistletoe Bay as we are in there fairly often during Summer.
Punga Cove Resort (Endeavour Inlet) – We have a full range of bike repair supplies.