The hugely popular, meandering, 70km Queen Charlotte Track offers gorgeous coastal scenery on its way from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa, passing through a mixture of privately owned land and DOC reserves. Access depends on the cooperation of local landowners; respect their property by utilising designated campsites and toilets, and carrying out your rubbish. Your purchase of the Track Pass ($15–18), available from operators in town and on the track, provides the co-op with the means to maintain and enhance the experience for all.
Queen Charlotte is a well-defined track, suitable for people of average fitness. Numerous boat and tour operators service the track, allowing you to walk the whole three- to five-day journey, or start and finish where you like, on foot or by kayak or bike. We're talking mountain biking here, and a whole lot of fun for fit, competent off-roaders. Part of the track is off-limits to cyclists from 1 December to the end of February, but there is still good riding to be had during this time.
Ship Cove is the usual (and recommended) starting point – mainly because it’s easier to arrange a boat from Picton to Ship Cove than vice versa – but the track can be started from Anakiwa. There’s a public phone at Anakiwa but not at Ship Cove.
Estimated walk times: