Queen Charlotte Track 5 Day Boutique Lodge Guided Walk
Picton - Picton:
In the late 17th Century, English voyager Captain James Cook must have thought he was in paradise, when he sailed into the calm waters of the Marlborough Sounds. Today you can come with us on a present day expedition following in Cook's path along the legendary 71km Queen Charlotte Track. Discover this immense system of drowned river valleys from the matchless viewpoint of this well-formed track. On the Queen Charlotte Track luxuriant coastal beech forest reaches out to meet lapping tides of constantly shifting hues. This exceptional guided walk option stops each night at luxurious boutique lodges, as well as a Wildlife Recovery & Arts Centre.
Tour Grading: Medium
- No hiking experience necessary.
- You need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic.
- Terrain mostly tracks.
- Light day pack carried, with luggage transported by water taxi.
Highlights & Inclusions
Queen Charlotte Track 4 Day Boutique Lodge Guided Walk Itinerary
NB. A pre-tour briefing is conducted at our offices on Picton Waterfront at 5pm the day prior to departure. Please let us know if you are unable to attend for any reason.
Day 1 - Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet
- (approx. 5 hours, 12 kms)
We will collect you from your accommodation in Picton to join the boat trip with Beachcomber Cruises to Motuara Island for a bird sanctuary tour en route to Ship Cove. Learn about the fascinating marine life of this area and, if we are lucky, see dolphins as well! Enjoy a short warm up walk on Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary to the lookout - this affords spectacular 360deg views of the Marlborough Sounds - and see many of New Zealand's endangered bird species. Arrive late morning at Ship Cove to begin our walk. This scenic & historic reserve was a favourite anchorage for Captain Cook during his explorations in the 1770s. Experience virgin beech forest at its best plus stunning views throughout today's walk. NB. Our visit to Motuara Island is weather dependent - this is due to the fact there are no toilets or shelter on the island. Packs are to be checked prior to visiting to ensure no traces of our visit are left behind.
Accommodation - No Road Inn
Newly completed for 2008, the No Road Inn is a small waterfront lodge on the only privately owned land in Queen Charlotte Sound where the virgin native forest extends right to the sea. Your hosts Garry and Barbara invite you to join them at their new boutique property nestled at the foot of Mount Furneaux in Endeavour Inlet.
Four spacious suites - the Queen Charlotte Suite, Howden Suite, Resolution Suite and Adventure Suite - await walkers, each with its own super king or twin bed, clawfoot bath and stunning sea and bush views. Set amidst 2000-year old giant rimu and kahikatea trees, the No Road Inn is an oasis for the hiker with a guest lounge, games room, theatre and private hot tub.
Dine this evening on a three course meal of Marlborough fare with local seasonal delicacies including blue cod, greenshell mussels, New Zealand lamb and locally baked bread with olive oils; perfectly matched with a Marlborough wine of your choice.
Day 2 - Endeavour Inlet to Mahana Lodge, Bay of Many Coves
- (approx. 4 hours, 12 kms)
Farewell the No Road Inn and continue the mainly coastal walk around Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the call of bellbirds, fantails and other NZ native birds. Pause at the head of the bay to learn more about antimony & the mining industry that thrived there in the 1880s. Head uphill towards the ridgeline and onwards to the Bay of Many Coves Shelter. Soon the bays and coves of the Queen Charlotte Sound are far below. Follow the main track onwards and into Big Bay before working your way towards Camp Bay and Punga Cove. Mahana Homestead is a five to 10 minute walk from Punga Cove.
Accommodation - Mahana Lodge
The clear waters of Endeavour Inlet stretch out towards bush covered mountains and often the only sound is the gentle lapping of the waves, and the song of the bellbird. Your hosts John and Ann have shaped Mahana into an oasis for the weary with its delightful and lovingly restored historic homestead where you dine on the veranda looking out into the bay to the purpose built lodge with four new ensuite rooms and shared guest lounge. Visit John's extensive organic vegetable garden, enjoy free range eggs and test your hosts' knowledge of the local flora and fauna - you won't be disappointed. Dine this evening on the deck, soaking up the beautiful views whilst enjoying a delicious home cooked meal.
Day 3 - Mahana Lodge to Raetihi Lodge
- (approx. 8 hours, 22.5 kms)
You won't want to leave but today we depart Mahana Lodge and return to the ridgeline to continue our hike along the Queen Charlotte Track. Today is a challenging day traversing the ridgeline between Mahana Lodge & Raetihi Lodge in Torea Bay. Truly grand vistas abound round every corner - a wonderful reward indeed. Those who feel like a day’s rest are treated to a boat ride around the bays of the Queen Charlotte Sound to Raetihi Lodge. We conclude our walk at Coshwed Bay and transfer by waiting water taxi to our accommodation at Raetihi Lodge.
Accommodation - Raetihi Lodge
Nestled in a secluded bay of extraordinary natural beauty in the Kenepuru Sound is Raetihi Lodge. Since the 1930s, Raetihi Lodge has built a reputation as one of the most popular destinations in the Marlborough Sounds. Extensively rebuilt, its accommodation and facilities are rated 4 star plus Hosted Qualmark with luxury and comfort set amidst the serenity and nature of the Marlborough Sounds. A water's edge retreat, Raetihi Lodge sets its own standards for gracious and unsurpassed hospitality. Rooms feature a fridge, mini-bar, ensuite, tea/coffee making facilities, bathrobe; all the comfort you'll need. There is complimentary email and internet facilities and wireless internet throughout the property. Dine on an ever changing feast of seafood and fresh local produce, themed to suit the season and complemented by the finest regional wines in New Zealand. Everyday dining at Raetihi Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds is informal but elegant and relaxed, the epitome of fresh New Zealand cuisine...
A fitting finale to your Queen Charlotte Track boutique lodge experience!
Day 4 - Raetihi Lodge
Today is your chance to rejuvenate and relax at Raetihi Lodge. We can arrange guided sea kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, golf or wine tours for those interested.
Day 5 - Raetihi Lodge to Anakiwa
- (approx. 7 hours)
Farewell Raetihi Lodge and ascend to the Queen Charlotte Track once again, enjoying stunning views. Open farmland and a grand native bush section to finish is a fitting finale. Today you return by boat from the Anakiwa Jetty and join Beachcomber Cruises back to Picton to compete your journey.