Frequently Asked Questions

General

How to book a multi-day independent/freedom or guided walk or bike?

There are a variety of operators who will book you an independent/freedom or guided walk or bike. These bookings can include water taxi transport, accommodation, luggage storage, packed lunches, gear rental, additional activities (for example, a day trip sea kayaking) and more. Please contact the individual operators below to discuss your options.

Natural Encounters Walks

Sea Kayak Adventures

The Villa Backpackers / YHA Picton

Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company

Wilderness Guides Marlborough Sounds

Tuatara Tours

Tombstone Backpackers

Is the Queen Charlotte Track open all year?
Yes, but please note the restrictions for bikers – the section from Ship Cove to Camp Bay is closed from 1 December to 28 February each year.
What is the best season to walk / bike the Queen Charlotte Track?
Each season has it’s benefits: Spring (September – November) Flowering native plants and a generally quieter time to walk the track Summer (December – February) Long warm days, more people around as summer occurs over NZ’s domestic holiday period. Autumn (March – May) Generally warm, tranquil days, cool evenings – idyllic conditions Winter (June – August) Cool days (ranging from 10 to maximum 24°C) but on a good day walking conditions are great.
Which is the best way to start the track?
You can start or finish the walk at any of the points along the way although it is suggested to begin the track at Ship Cove.
Do I have to carry my big pack?

You can arrange for the water taxis to transfer your pack between your accommodation so you only have to carry a day pack. Find out more information here or ask your water taxi company.

Are there DOC huts to stay in?

No. There are no DOC huts on the Queen Charlotte Track but there are DOC campsites that you can stay at however. There are also private camping grounds, resorts and homestays options along the track.

How do I get to Picton?

Refer to Location.

Where can I stay in Picton?

There are a large variety of accommodation options available from hotel, motel, B&B, backpacker to holiday park. You can find Picton accommodation here.

Can I buy last minute items upon arrival in Picton?

Yes.

Do I need to buy all food and provisions before leaving Picton?
It is recommended you have all provisions you require for your trip, but there are restaurants and cafes along the Track to purchase meals and some accommodation operators may sell small extra provisions.
Where can I find information about other places and activities in Marlborough?

MarlboroughNZ.com is your Official Marlborough Visitor Guide with information on things to do, accommodation, transport and more! You can also visit the i-SITE office in Picton, Blenheim or Havelock for information and bookings.

Walking

How difficult is the Queen Charlotte Track? How fit do I have to be?
The track is regarded as a “long” track not a “steep” track. Therefore, distances each day, especially between Camp Bay and Anakiwa can be long and therefore challenging. If you are moderately fit, however, you should be able to achieve this walk.
Do I have to carry a big pack?
No. You only ever have to carry a light day pack because your luggage is transferred each day by water taxi. Refer to Transport Operators for options
Can I walk the track unguided?
Yes, you can walk the track either unguided or with a guide. Both unguided and guided walkers can have their packs carried for them from any of the access points along the track by arrangement with transport operators.
What is the difference between the GUIDED and UNGUIDED walks?

Guided walks can provide another dimension to this walking holiday such as:

  • A guide
  • All meals
  • Upgraded accommodation
  • Pre and post tour functions

However, if you prefer to have more independence walking the track an unguided walk may be a better option. See individual operator listings for more information.

Biking

Is the track open all year?
No, the section from Ship Cove to Camp Bay is closed from 1 December to 28 February each year.
Can I hire a bike and accessories or do I have to bring my own bike and accessories?
Please contact any of our Activity Operators for details.
Can I hire panniers for my bike?
No, because the water transport companies carry your packs as part of your water transfers, panniers are not required. Also the terrain is too rough for easy carriage of panniers on the bikes.
What is the track surface like to ride?
The track has a clay base which means that in dry conditions it is hard and relatively easy riding, but when it has rained it is extremely slippery and difficult to ride. Caution is recommended. While some sections of the track are easy to ride, other sections have tree roots, bluffs and rocky areas that make riding more challenging.
Do I have to carry a big pack?
No, you only ever have to carry a light day pack because your luggage is transferred each day by water taxi. See our Transport Operators for more information.
How much experience do I need to ride the Queen Charlotte Track? How difficult is the track, how fit do I have to be?

The Queen Charlotte Track is regarded as a technical track so to ride the whole track, you need to be a reasonably skilled rider. Some sections of the track are difficult and suitable for more advanced riders. If you are less skilled or unsure of your abilities, there are easier options such as the section from Waterfall to Anakiwa. The track is not regarded as suitable for novice riders although some sections are suitable for less experienced riders. Please ask for advice on the best section to ride when planning your biking adventure.

How many days does it take to ride the Queen Charlotte Track?
Less Experienced: Recommended over 3 Days Ship Cove to Camp Bay, Camp Bay to Torea Saddle/Portage Bay, Torea Saddle/Portage Bay to Anakiwa Experienced: Recommended over 2 Days Ship Cove to Torea Saddle/Portage Bay and then Torea Saddle/Portage Bay to Anakiwa