Photo copyright: Richard Briggs

Queen Charlotte Track

RIDING THE TRAIL

Ship Cove to head of Endeavour Inlet, (Grade 3 Intermediate to Grade 4 Advanced) 15km

This section starts with a hill climb out of Ship Cove through beech forest before a challenging descent with rocks and tree roots to negotiate.

Schoolhouse Bay Campsite is a good place to have a rest before heading up a gentle hill to Tawa Saddle.

You’ll get great views on the way down to Endeavour Inlet, then wind your way along the shore to the head of the inlet.

Antimony was once mined here so it’s worth stopping or staying the night.

Endeavour Inlet to Camp Bay, (Grade 3 Intermediate to Grade 4 Advanced) 11.5km

Enjoy the mainly flat, wide track in this section as it winds its way near the shore through regenerating forest rich in small birds (the local residents are doing a great job of trapping pests in this area).

You will pass Big Bay before arriving at Camp Bay Campsite and the private accommodation just past it.

You can bypass Camp Bay by riding the direct track up to Kenepuru Saddle.

Camp Bay to Torea Saddle, (Grade 3 Intermediate to Grade 4 Advanced) 24.5km

The QCTLC Pass is required for this section as it passes through private land.

Enjoy the magnificent panoramas of the Sounds from the top of the ridge, and take in the stunning panoramas at Eatwell’s Lookout.

This is the most arduous section of the track and you may need to push your bike in some sections.

The alternative option is to ride on the road instead, although the views aren’t as good.

Follow the ridge separating Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru sounds and pass two DOC campsites at Bay of Many Coves and Black Rock. Each has a toilet, water (not guaranteed in dry weather) and a shelter.

The track crosses the road between Torea and Portage bays. Take the track to Cowshed Bay Campsite or the road to private accommodation at Portage if you are staying the night here.

Torea to Te Mahia Saddle, (Grade 3 Intermediate to Grade 4 Advanced) 8km

The QCTLC Pass is required for this section.

You will again be rewarded with stunning views as you follow the ridgeline. Manuka, shrubs and some trees, as well as gorse, shade parts of the track.

There is a short side track to a lookout over Onahau Bay just before the descent to Te Mahia Saddle.

Mistletoe Bay is a great place for a picnic or to stay the night; private accommodation is also available at Te Mahia Bay.

Te Mahia Saddle to Anakiwa, (Grade 3 Intermediate to Grade 4 Advanced) 12.5km

The QCTLC Pass is required for this section.

Follow the road downhill from Te Mahia Saddle to where the track branches off and follows an old bridle path. Pass through bush and farmland before enjoying the downhill ride to Davies/Umungata Bay where there is a DOC campsite, toilets and water.

Then enjoy the final 3km to Anakiwa as you cycle through mature beech forest with glimpses of the water below. Stay here or at Linkwater or a water taxi can return you to Picton. Alternatively ride 23km back to Picton along the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive.

Getting There

Getting to the Queen Charlotte Track is easiest from the town of Picton (28km from Blenheim and 105km from Nelson). Take the ferry from Wellington, catch a bus or train or drive yourself there.

You can fly to Blenheim or Koromiko (near Picton with limited flights) airports and then take a shuttle to Picton. The closest international airports are Wellington or Christchurch.

Boats to Ship Cove and other access points for the track regularly leave from Picton year round.

Driving to some of the track sections is possible if you have your own vehicle or transport can be arranged to and from Picton to the Anakiwa end of the track.

Visitor Information

For more information about walking or biking the track, accommodation and transport visit:

Trail Partner

Jonathan Kennett, Cycling Author
The Queen Charlotte Track is among the best multi-day mountain bike routes in the country. You can amend your itinerary if you need to and do some of the route on sealed roads. JONATHAN KENNETT – Cycling Author