Top of the South Island Trail Running


  • Warm up on the beautiful Queen Charlotte track with the 26kms from Ship Cove.
  • Delight in discovering the remote Nydia Bay trail with two beautiful passes and hidden inlets.
  • Relax at the foot of the Nelson Lakes national park with two awesome days running across lakeside tracks, open ridges and mountain tarns.
  • Be amazed at the stunning views from Flora saddle down into Tasman Bay at the start of the run across the Kahurangi national park into Golden Bay.
  • Enjoy the finale run through the beautiful Abel Tasman walkway from Awaroa to Marahau with its beaches and golden sands.
  • Top kiwi trail runner Malcolm Law will guide and inspire you through some of the best tracks in New Zealand.

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Trail Running is a rapidly growing sport. We are keen to open up the opportunities by offering a fully supported 7 day guided tour of what we see as being the best of the trails available in the upper South Island. As with many great runs, often the start and finish are miles apart which then requires tricky transport arrangements. In order to provide an effective and efficient running experience for you, we are providing transportation, and a running guide who has first hand knowledge of the trails which we have personally selected. This tour is an awesome means of experiencing a wide range of great runs day after day, as part of a small group of like minded people.

What's included

  • Accommodation on a twin share / double basis usually en suited bathrooms
  • All breakfasts, lunches plus 3 dinners
  • Fully supported vehicle transfers
  • Two running guides where numbers are applicable
  • Informal workshops and discussion groups
  • Water taxi transfer on day 2
  • Option to be driven from and back to christchurch pre and post tour
  • Airport transfer to nelson at the end of trip
  • Access and concession fees paid to the department of conservation
  • Nz goods and service tax (gst)


Day 1 Picton - Meet and greet
Today is the meet and greet so get yourself to Picton and chill out as you get to know your fellow runners. We will get together at 6.30pm at the motel for our briefing followed by a meal together at a nearby restaurant.
Day 2 Picton - Queen Charlotte Track - Picton
Today the rubber hits the trail and what better way to start than the beautiful northern end of the Queen Charlotte Track. To get there we take a scenic water taxi ride down the Sound to historic Ship Cove. From there we run approx 26kms through lush coastal forest, skirting the bays and enjoying great views. Our ascent during the run is around 600m, with mostly gentle gradients. From Camp Bay we rejoin our water taxi and return to Picton and our accommodation for the next night. Running distance: up to 26km
Day 3 Picton - Nydia Bay - St Arnaud
We kick off with a short but twisty drive to the start of our Nydia Bay run. This beautiful 24km long trail is pretty much single track all the way with a couple of decent 300m+ climbs that are rewarded with some awesome downhill running. More beautiful and varied native bush and glittering bays keep the spirits high. After reaching Tennyson Inlet we drive inland to St Arnaud on the edge of the awe-inspiring Nelson Lakes National Park and make ourselves comfortable for a 3-night stay. Running distance: up to 24km
Day 4 to 5 Nelson Lakes National Park
The Nelson Lakes National Park is one of our very favourite places on the planet to go running. The alpine setting is stunning, the trails are world-class and the views are to die for. But best of all it’s pretty much all accessible from the back door of our comfortable accommodation! The itinerary for these two days will be a moving feast depending on the weather and how energetic everybody is feeling. We’ll most likely be able to offer a couple of options each day to keep everybody happy. But whatever happens you can be assured of superb trail running along undulating native beech forest, up and down some meaty climbs, along incredible open ridge tops and around high alpine tarns. Heaven on earth! Running distance: mix of trails to choose from depending on desired run
Day 6 Nelson Lakes - Kahurangi National Park - Takaka
We’ll make an early start for our drive to the unique environs of the Kahurangi National Park. Parking at Flora Saddle (1,000m altitude) the sweep of the Tasman Bay provides a great backdrop for the start of the 25 km run that first heads down a gorgeous river valley before climbing to open tussock. Progressing on to the Tablelands the terrain becomes increasingly rocky and the views keep opening up as we traverse this wonderful limestone landscape and sidle around the incomparable ice-sculpted Lake Peel. A final short climb leads to a breathtaking 500m descent through native forest to finish at the Cobb Reservoir. But the fun is not yet done as we still have the memorable drive down the Cobb Valley to take us to our accommodation in Takaka. Running distance: up to 25km
Day 7 Takaka - Abel Tasman - Motueka
The finale of the trip lies in the run through the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park on the world-famous Coastal Track. Just a short drive will deliver us to the Awaroa Inlet at low tide and after crossing this we embark on 35 kms of single-track through some of the most heavenly coastal scenery you’ll ever wish to see. For anyone looking for a shorter day there are options to start further along the trail by taking a water taxi part way. The small settlement of Marahau marks the end of the day and our tour runs. We then make the short journey back to Motueka for a celebratory meal. Running distance: up to 35km
Day 8 End of trip
All good things come to an end and after breakfast we head off back to Christchurch dropping tired but happy trail runners en route at Nelson, Blenheim or Picton to meet flights and ferries. Those seeking a ride to Christchurch can accompany our driver guide all the way to the Garden City.