Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand

Ship Cove to Anakiwa

executive summary by darmansjah

Round-Trip: 44 miles, 3 to 5 days

When to Go: Located on the sunny north end of the South Island, near the famed wine growing region of Marlborough, the Queen Charlotte can be done virtually year round. Hike with Marlborough Sound Adventures, who have the logistics wired.

A unique journey through the sunny hills of the Marlborough Sounds, the Queen Charlotte follows the dragon’s back ridge that separates the blue waters of Queen Charlotte Sound from those of Kenepuru Sound. Water taxis take you from the town of Picton to the start, at Ship’s Cove, where Captain Cook hung out frequently between 1770 and 1779, and the finish at Anakiwa. You can camp the whole way, a style of hiking the Kiwis call “freedom walking,” or choose to turn the jaunt into a cush day-hiking experience not unlike trekking in Nepal—except your gear is carried by boat, not yak. Go luxe, and you can crank 15-mile days and stay every night in comfortable lodges at Furneaux, Punga Cove and Portage.

Insider Tip: The Queen Charlotte is one of the few tracks in New Zealand open to mountain bikers for part of the season. Go early or late in the season if you want to ride, or choose high summer if you want a more tranquil hike without bikers coming up behind you.

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