The Queen Charlotte Track

Discover the Queen Charlotte Track with us

The expert team at Beachcomber Cruises love to share their knowledge of the Queen Charlotte Track (QCT) and with their help experiencing the track could not be easier!

The entire 70km track can be completed in three to four days or choose one of our day walks. It can be difficult to know where to start when there are so many choices and options available so we've put together a selection of the most popular routes. All our trips include water transport ex Picton and pack transfers as specified. These are all ready to book online now but feel free to contact us directly should you have any questions or would like to ask about variations not shown on this website - we love to help!

The Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track is one of the top ten, finest coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. It is also a mountain biker's paradise offering visually stunning and varied terrain, with sections suitable for the novice rider whilst also being challenging enough for the experienced mountain biker. The 70km track starts at Ship Cove and winds its way through virgin native bush over saddles, along the coast line and up and along ridge lines, offering panoramic views and magnificent scenery.

The Queen Charlotte Track is a unique combination of public and private land and runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's Queen Charlotte Sound. There are a number of factors that make this track so compelling but a definite plus is the fact that you don't have to carry your pack. Beachcomber Cruises can transfer your pack by boat to your destination each day. Those who decide to carry their own often change their mind when they see other walkers striding by! Another great aspect of the track is that there is a range of accommodation available, from basic DOC campsites to luxury lodges.

For more detailed information on the Queen Charlotte Track we recommend you visit the Official Queen Charlotte Track website. You'll soon find yourself exploring the scenic, bush-fringed inland waterways of the Marlborough Sounds with its sub-tropical rainforest and abundance of wildlife in no time.

The Queen Charlotte Sound

The Marlborough Sounds were created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels which drowned a series of deep valleys after the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.

There are several Mäori legends about how the coastline was formed. Kupe, a great Mäori warrior, caught a giant octopus in Cook Strait and the ensuing battle formed the waterways and headlands of the Sounds. Another legend says the Marlborough Sounds was the ornately carved prow of a waka (ocean-going canoe).

The sheltered waterways and plentiful food attracted several Mäori migrations prior to the 1840s. Mäori were known to haul their waka over the saddles between the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds to avoid long sea journeys.

On 31st January 1770, Captain James Cook proclaimed British sovereignty at Motuara Island, near Ship Cove. His ships and crews spent more than 100 days in the area in the 1770s and Cook wrote: "The number of Inhabitants hardly exceeds 3 or 400 people, they leive (sic) dispers'd along the Shores in search of their daily (sic) bread, which is fish and firn (sic) roots for they cultivate no part of the lands". (Journals of Captain Cook, 6 February, 1770).

Prior to human habitation, most of the Marlborough Sounds was covered in forest dominated by beech trees (Nothofagus), with lush broadleaf forest in the moister gullies and on coastal flats. Today, the area's vegetation is a mix of original forest remnants, pasture, exotic plantations and regenerating forest. We hope you will choose to explore this natural playground with us.