At the top end of the South Island of New Zealand, there are a series of spectacular sounds known as the Marlborough Sounds. The most beautiful and popular of these is the Queen Charlotte Sound, and running almost the entire length is one of New Zealand’s best walks – The Queen Charlotte Track.
This interesting track runs for 71km through beautiful forest with spectacular views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. The trail can be walked in four days, or alternatively, you can walk it in sections as day hikes. Since I only had one day spare when I was there, I decided to just hike the first section of the track from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet.
The easiest way to access the Queen Charlotte Track is by taking a water taxi to the part of the track that you would like to start at. As I was heading to the very start of the track, there were plenty of other people to share the boat with.
The track starts at Ship Cove, a historical landmark where Captain James Cook landed on his first voyage to this part of the world in 1770, when he first discovered New Zealand and then later, Australia. He then later returned to this same point several times on later voyages, so there is a monument dedicated to him at Ship Cove, which also marks the start of the Queen Charlotte Track.
The track isn’t very steep, and runs through beautiful forests with an abundance of tree ferns. Through the greenery there are some of the most beautiful views I have seen. The placid blue waters of Queen Charlotte Sound are just beautiful against the green of the steep coastline.
With every bend and rise in the track, there seemed to be yet another hidden cove that appeared untouched, some with the occasional boat anchored in them, enjoying their privacy and serenity in this beautiful part of the world.
I found that the track wasn’t crowded at all, and it was really quite an easy hike. It took me roughly 3 and half hours to walk from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet including rest stops. I have heard that the track gets much harder on days three and four, but overall, it’s not too difficult.
The scenery really was just spectacular on the Queen Charlotte Track, and if I get the chance, I would love to hike the rest of it. This is a very beautiful part of the world!