4 Day Freedom Walk - Queen Charlotte Track
- Product code: 4DFW
Located at the top of the South Island, in the Marlborough Sounds, The Queen Charlotte Track is quickly becoming one of New Zealand’s classic walks and a “must do” on every international or domestic visitors itinerary. This 71km walking track is renowned for the uniqueness of its panoramic coastal views, lush coastal forest, resort accommodation and excellent water transport services – creating a walk that is challenging yet comfortable.
For those who might like to join a group or prefer to have the benefit of flora and fauna interpretation as you walk, you may like to consider our guided walk options. Please enquire for further details.
Day One – Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge (5 hour walk – 14km)
There is no better way to start your walk than boarding The Cougar Line catamaran in Picton and enjoying their award winning service en-route to Ship Cove. Ship Cove is of worldwide historical significance being the one place that Captain Cook visited 5 times to re-provision his ships. As you sweep into Ship Cove you will understand why. A steady climb out of Ship Cove provides unsurpassed views to the North Island. Follow the track down into Resolution Bay and through to Endeavour Inlet where you spy Furneaux Lodge with its broad sweeping lawns. This historic homestead has a restaurant and bar with chalet accommodation.
Day Two – Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Resort (4 hour walk – 12km)
This gentle coastal part of the track provides a good opportunity for taking a leisurely lunch and stopping to enjoy the plentiful birdlife along the way. Punga Cove Resort, your accommodation tonight, has individual chalets set amongst the bush clad hillside providing stunning views across Endeavour Inlet. Perhaps you might like to soak in the spa or swim in the solar-heated pool before adjourning for wine and dinner in their
award winning restaurant.
Day Three – Punga Cove to Portage Resort Hotel (8 hour walk – 24.5km)
This section is the most challenging and rewarding of the track. Climbing away steeply from Punga Cove the
sweeping views begin to appear as you walk along the ridge between the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sound. The track is very undulating and therefore can be challenging for some people. As in the old days, Portage Resort Hotel is a welcome respite after a long day. Portage has a range of comfortable ensuite
rooms and their restaurant provides excellent food with a selection of local wines to match.
Day Four – Portage Resort Hotel to Anakiwa (7 hour walk – 20km)
Once again the track follows the ridge climbing up to the highest point on the track at 400m. From the summit you have unsurpassed views into the surrounding Sounds. Winding down to sea level you will come upon some particularly beautiful virgin native bush which leaves you with a lasting impression of what must have been before man arrived. The harbour of Anakiwa comes into view and so too does the end of the Queen Charlotte Track. Your water transport collects you and, as you travel back to Picton, you can relax and reminisce on the magic
of the last four days.
NON WALKING PARTNERS
Maybe your husband, wife or partner, isn’t so keen on walking, but is keen to have a relaxing four or five day holiday. Due to the flexibility of water transport throughout the Sounds non walkers can boat each day to the next resort while you are walking with the group. This is a wonderful option for couples or groups of friends who have mixed fitness levels. Please note, there is an additional charge for some of the transfers.
The track is open all year and subject to accommodation availability, you can walk at any time of the year. Once you know your preferred departure date, contact us and we will check availability. It is helpful if you can also indicate other dates that are suitable around your preferred date, in case your first choice is not available.
You need to meet at our office at least ½ an hour prior to boat departure time on the morning of departure so that we can provide you with your trip information and packed lunch for the day.
From October to April, your water transport will depart on the first day at 10.00am. You will return to Picton on the last day of your trip by boat at approximately 4.30pm.
From 1 May - 30 September your water transport departs at 9.00am. You will return to Picton on the last day of your trip by boat at approximately 3.30pm.
A packed lunch is included in your freedom walk package, except on the rest day of the 5 day walk
option. Dinner and breakfast can be purchased at the resorts each day. Each resort has a different style of dining and menu option ranging from bar meals to a la carte dining. Breakfasts range in price from approximately $20 for a continental breakfast to $30 for a cooked breakfast. Dinners range from approximately $25 for a bar meal to $65 for a 2 or 3 course a la carte option. Facilities are limited (tea & coffee making facilities only) for you to self cater. This is dependent upon the style of accommodation you are using – please enquire for further details.
Your luggage will be transferred each day by water taxi, so walkers only need to carry a day pack with what they require for the day. The cost of the water taxi transferring you luggage is included in the package.
Drinking water is available at strategic places on the track (please note this water is not regularly tested). We recommend that you walk with your own bottle that holds approximately 1 litre or more which can be topped up each evening at your accommodation.
The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC. You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Met Service Web site at www.metservice.com
Most places in New Zealand receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas, such as Marlborough, receiving over 2350 hours.
As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.00pm.
New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution compared to many other countries, which makes the UV rays in our sunlight very strong during the summer months. In order to avoid sunburn, visitors should wear sunscreen,sunglasses, and hats when they are in direct summer sunlight, especially in the heat of the day (11am - 4pm).
HOW TO BOOK
Select your preferred departure date from the calendar. Your enquiry will be processed as "pending supplier". This is because we have to check availability at the properties before confirming your departure. We will email you as soon as possible by return to confirm availability or recommend another date.
Upon confirmation of availability, we can debit your credit card for the deposit which is $100 per person and we will send you pre-trip information which details what to bring etc.
Queen Charlotte Track Land Co-op Pass
Important steps have been taken to protect the future of the Queen Charlotte Track to ensure it will always be a place of rare beauty and freedom. The Land Co-op pass has been introduced, the cost of this has been included in the price of the Freedom Walk.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND WHAT IS INCLUDED?We have endeavoured to provide a variety of accommodation options for you. All options ensure that you have twin share en-suite accommodation; however the standard option only has sea views on the first
two nights. If you would like to have a sea view every night, then we recommend that you take the Sea View option. Please ensure that you let us know when booking which option you would like to have. We will endeavour to meet your request subject to accommodation availability.
Accommodation Options & Costs for 4 Day Freedom Walk
There are three different rates, based on different room types at each accommodation house. Three different rates and the prices are options given to you once you have selected your preferred departure date and clicked the "book now" button on the next screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What meals are included and what can I buy?
A packed lunch is included in your freedom walk package. Dinner and breakfast can be purchased at the resorts each day. Each resort has a different style of dining and menu options, ranging from bar meals to a la carte dining. Breakfasts range in price from approximately $15 for a continental breakfast, to $25 for a cooked breakfast. Dinners range from approximately $20 for a bar meal to $60 for a two or three course a la carte option. Facilities are limited for you to self-cater (generally tea & coffee-making facilities only). This is dependent upon the style of accommodation you are using, please enquire for further details.
Is water available on the track while walking?
Drinking water is available at strategic places on the track. Please note however that this water is not regularly tested. We recommend that you walk with your own bottle that holds approximately 1 litre or more which can be topped up each evening at your accommodation.
When is the best time to walk?
The warmest months are December, January and February (summer), and the coldest are June, July and August (winter). In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC, and in winter between 10-15ºC.You can check on weather conditions in New Zealand on the New Zealand Met Service website:www.metservice.com
What is the difference between the guided and freedom walks?
The guided walks have some added extras that are not included in the standard freedom walk package.
We recognise that some people prefer a complete walking holiday, sharing their experience with a group of like-minded people from all over the world and therefore the guided option is the best one. We also appreciate that some people prefer to be independent and walk on their own, or with their group of friends only, therefore we also offer a “freedom” option.
How fit do you have to be to walk the track?
The track is regarded as a “long” track not a “steep” track. Therefore distances each day, particularly on the third and fourth day are long, but if you are moderately fit you should be able to achieve this walk. We do recommend that to enjoy the trip you are of at least average fitness. Fitness levels vary amongst every individual, therefore we suggest that – as a guideline – if you are walking for at least an hour (maybe two) more than four times a week, you should be able to thoroughly enjoy this trip.
Do we have to carry a big pack?
No. It doesn’t matter if you are freedom or guided walking, you only ever have to carry a light day pack because your luggage is transferred each day by water taxi.
Are there Department of Conservation huts to stay in?
No. There are no Department of Conservation (DOC) huts on the Queen Charlotte Track. However, there are resorts, homestays and DOC campsites that you can stay at.