How to prepare for the Queen Charlotte Track

 | Kate Baker
| Kate Baker

After walking the Queen Charlotte Track in Marlborough Sounds and meeting many hikers along the trail, I saw a common theme amongst walkers so I am going to share all the secrets to make sure your multi-day hike will be fun and enjoyable!

How hard is the Queen Charlotte Walk?

The Queen Charlotte Walking Track is a 70km track usually taking 4-5 days to complete. Each day, you'll be walking reasonable distances; one day, in particular, can be a challenge for even the enthusiastic trekker: with a walking distance of 20kms and over 1000 metres in elevation to reach Eatwell's Lookout. In saying that, the panoramic views of the Sounds below are a view you don't want to miss out on.


Marlborough Sounds is known to be the sunniest region in New Zealand. Walking the track in February, we had glorious weather full of hot, sunny days and would always make it a priority to jump in the water at the end of a day's walk and swim with the rays. But weather can change quite quickly walking in the fiords so it's always best to be prepared for any weather conditions. 


How to prepare for your walk

After learning this walk was a 'moderate' graded multi-day hike, I trained three to four times a week to prepare, which made the longer days more enjoyable. 

If you're not used to long-distance hiking then it's always a good idea to have a training routine leading up to your Queen Charlotte Walk. The gradient of the trail is very steep in a few sections so make sure to incorporate hill training into your routine.


There is an option not to walk on the longer days - You can catch the boat to the next night's accommodation when they collect your luggage. You may need to pay a small fee but that is always a possibility.

What to pack when walking the Queen Charlotte Track

You'll want to take a decent-fitting day pack on your walk each day. I always take a water bladder system so you can keep hydrated on the longer-distance days. Be mindful that there's no where to fill up your water on the track so you'll want to carry about 3 litres of water a day. 


I brought my long pants and my waterproof hiking gear but I didn't need them at all. Although it turned out to be great weather, I'd suggest you still carry them with you as the weather in the fiords can change quickly. 

Some people choose to walk the 70km with hiking poles which is great if you have lower back pain or knee issues. 


I wore trail running shoes and they were perfectly fine for the conditions we had. Although, if it's wet and muddy on the trail, then hiking boots are far more appropriate but for dry conditions like we knew we were going to have, it was perfectly fine to have trail runners.

Walking Gear: Packing List

Hiking pants
Breathable T-shirt
Thermal top (weather dependent)
Waterproof jacket
Trail runners or hiking boots
Merino sock
Water bladder system or water bottle

Buff (good for sun and sweat)
Sun hat
Blister plasters/ lamb's wool
Hiking poles (optional)

Follow in Kate's Footsteps

>> Queen Charlotte in Comfort
>> View all Queen Charlotte Walks

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