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Queen Charlotte Track

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Track Links:

March 7th, 2002

5.0 miles
690 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:16

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map


Parts of the Queen Charlotte Track are private property, and parts are Department of Conservation lands. The track doesn't have DOC huts, but does have private cabins which you can stay in. We were just doing a short stretch of the 71 kilometer trail.

It was hot as we started out from Anakiwa, but the hike was almost entirely shaded so it wasn't a problem. The trail immediately begins climbing but levels off quickly. The trail goes through lush green bush, with occasional obstructed views of the water below. The trail is often right next to the water, 30-50 feet above the surface. Parts of it remind me of the Rubicon Trail in Lake Tahoe in that respect, though the vegetation is much different. The water color is just as brilliant, a very light blue.

There's a marker denoting the 1 kilometer mark. Don't be fooled, though -- that was the only marker I saw, and I know I went further than 2 kilometers. The trail is very popular, as we constantly ran into people coming the opposite direction. Most of them seemed to be European tourists. Don't think of this as a wilderness hike -- we heard speed boats, kayakers, and kids playing on the beach at almost all times during the hike.

Davies Beach

We found ourselves at Davies Beach after close to 3 kilometers. Jean decided to stop here and take a nap while I continued on. I did just that, continuing up a short climb before the trail leveled off again. I passed through more ferns, scattered fungus here and there, and listened to birds up above in the trees. I generally had to be satisfied with that, as the views are few and far between. There is, however, a bench where there's a decent view out onto the water.

View from the bench

Underside of a fern

Another fern

Shortly after the bench the trail turned inland, and I turned around. I met up with Jean at Davies Beach and then we continued the hike back to the car. As we neared the end of the hike, we were passed by a dozen trail runners coming in the opposite direction. Must have been some sort of club or something.

The Queen Charlotte Track

Yet another fern close-up

View of the water from the trail

Another view of the water from the trail

At the end of the hike is a sign that says "Blist'd Foot Cafe" with an arrow. That probably plays on the feeling of hikers who start the hike at the other end (which is the most common way to do it) and hike 71 kilometers. We, however, were just coming back from a short day hike, so we skipped the cafe.

Pier at the end of the trail. Notice the clear-cut on the mountain.

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