The Official Website of the Queen Charlotte Track


Nearly all walkers and mountain bikers begin the Queen Charlotte Track by arriving via Picton. a small town located in the heart of the Queen Charlotte Sound, at the top of the South Island. Picton can easily be reached from both North and South Islands.

Nestled deep in Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton is reminiscent of small town New Zealand, unhurried and free of crowds. While having modern amenities and facilities, Picton has retained the charm of a fishing port. The waterfront is a perfect place to wander and relax.

Picton has a good range of cafes, restaurants and bars – something for all tastes. For those wanting to make an early start to the track breakfasts are available from as early as 7.00am. Car storage is readily available, as are shuttles to and from the airport.

While having many excellent hotels and motels, Picton also has particularly good backpacker accommodation and homestays. Although accommodation is plentiful, booking is essential especially in the peak seasons.

Picton, New Zealand

Getting to Picton

By Air

SoundsAir – up to 23 flights per week Picton / Wellington, 44 flights per week Blenheim / Wellington and 17 flights Blenheim / Christchurch.

Air New Zealand – up to 10 daily flights Blenheim / Wellington, 10 daily direct flights Blenheim / Auckland. 

By Road

SELF DRIVE – State Highway 1 runs through Blenheim, Marlborough’s main centre directly up to Picton, approximately 30 minutes north of Blenheim.


The highway connects to the Inter-Island Ferry service at Picton. Picton can also be approaced from the west (Nelson and the West Coast) via the Queen Charlotte Drive.


Driving distances and times to and from Picton:

Km (miles) Approx Time
Picton – Nelson
(via Queen Charlotte Drive)
110 (68) 2 hrs 30 mins
Picton – Christchurch 336 (209) 5 hours
Picton – Blenheim 28 (17) 30 mins

These times are based on driving at 80 to 100 km per hour on open stretches of road, with a small allowance for traffic delays, petrol stops and refreshments.


COACH – There are several bus operators that offer a range of scheduled services to the Marlborough region.

By Sea

FERRY OPERATORS – Bluebridge and The Interislander transport passengers and vehicles across Cook Strait between Picton and Wellington for those travelling with vehicles from the the North Islands. The journey takes approximately 3 hours.


The ferries link with Tranz Scenic Train services in Wellington and Picton, making it easier to book travel.

By Rail

Tranz Rail operates the Coastal Pacific, which links the port of Picton to Christchurch. It connects with the Interislander ferry in Picton. Journey time is 5 hours 20 minutes.

Marlborough Sounds

The Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island are one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in New Zealand.

Richly endowed with jewels of natural beauty, this intricate maze of waterways with its attractive beaches and lush greenery provides for the perfect nature experience.

Among the variety of wildlife you may see terns, shags, blue penguins, and even dolphins and seals.