Why I loved walking the Queen Charlotte

 | Kate Baker
| Kate Baker

Queen Charlotte Walking Track 

Coming to New Zealand, it was Kate's first time hiking one of New Zealand's multi-day walks. After walking the Queen Charlotte Track in Comfort and staying at waterfront lodges each night, Kate offers a great insight into the area, how to get around the fiords and where to stay when visiting the Marlborough region for this spectacular multi-day hike. 

*Fun fact -  In New Zealander, they are spelled 'fiords' over the common spelling 'fjords'.


The Queen Charlotte Walking Track was my first long-distance walking holiday in New Zealand. I've always wanted to hike the Queen Charlotte track after seeing many incredible photos of the Marlborough region. 

Marlborough Sounds is a serene area of the South Island, with plenty of trails to explore including the Nydia Track and Queen Charlotte. I mean the scenery was amazing. The views can be quite dramatic at times and other times, you're walking through a shady rainforest which is a nice contrast.


The weather in Marlborough Sounds was beautiful. They call it the sunniest part of New Zealand for a reason and it did not disappoint, we had extraordinarily good weather and made time to swim after our walk each day.


Is the Queen Charlotte Walking Track worth it?

The Queen Charlotte Walking Track definitely met and exceeded my expectations. The Walk in Comfort is moderately graded and we stayed in lovely accommodation along the way. My friends absolutely loved it and couldn't stop talking about it on the flight home to Australia. It was the perfect multi-day hike that suited all our fitness levels! 

We walked reasonably good distances; one of the days was over 1000 metres in elevation and 20 kilometres so we felt like we walked a good distance each day, but we always had time for a glass of wine in the afternoon or a swim with the rays.

There were many stand-out moments on this walking holiday, but the highlight was on day 4 when we did the side trip up to the top of the peak and the panoramic views from there were just incredible. It was 360° views of the fiords and water below.


The difference between this walking holiday and other trips

Even though it's classified as self-guided, one thing that blew my mind was that all your luggage was carried for you from one accommodation to another via boat. I've never experienced that before and it just took the stress out of everything so my friends and I really got to enjoy the hike. Each afternoon, you would arrive at your room and your luggage would be waiting for you. It was nice that you just needed to take a daypack with you.


Getting around Marlborough Sounds

We had to do some transfers around the fiords by boat like the initial one from Picton to the start of the trail and that was breathtakingly beautiful. It was nice to see the trail that you're going to walk along from the water. The fiords are quite tall that at times when looking up into these mountains, you can't even see the walking track.


Another benefit being a self-guided hike was if you felt like skipping the walk one day, you could take a boat when they collect the luggage from your previous night's accommodation to the following night's accommodation. There may be a small fee but it's a good option to have if you feel like you need to.

In some sections of the walking track, they've got quite a lot of houses which surprised me. You're essentially walking through people's backyard but most of it is quite wild and untouched which was a pretty special feeling.


Accommodation along the Queen Charlotte Walking Track

There's not much availability along the Queen Charlotte Track so I'm incredibly grateful for choosing to book with Great Walks of New Zealand as they organised all the logistics for us. 

On the second night, we stayed on the waterfront at Furneaux Lodge. It was a beautiful heritage-style lodge that offered a picturesque backdrop of New Zealand's native forest. The entire place is full of history and the restaurant had a great atmosphere and the food was delicious. 

The food was even better at our accommodation in Punga Cove. It was quite a beautiful, little bungalow accommodation located on the waterfront. I've never seen such extraordinary views from any accommodation I've stayed at before. The restaurant offered some beautiful dishes with plenty of mussels and fish for you to enjoy.

As I mentioned previously, it was such a nice feeling arriving to your accommodation at the end of the day and your luggage was already waiting for you. There was no need to strain my back carrying my pack each day.


Follow in Kate's Footsteps

>> Queen Charlotte in Comfort 
>> View all Queen Charlotte trips

Marlborough Sounds, Queen Charlotte Track, South Island walks

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