Queen Charlotte Sound from the Queen Charlotte Track. © Dmitry Naumov

Queen Charlotte Track: camp, bike, walk... if you can tear your eyes away from the views


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This is becoming a hugely popular walkway, so you’ll need to watch for and be nice to the other folk.

If you can tear your eyes away from the views. You’re on a ridge most of the way, looking out over the crystalline waters of the Marlborough Sounds and the snaking fingers of peninsulas as they probe the sea. There are beautiful coves, serene little inlets and many great spots to pitch a tent. And a cricket ball.

The complete Queen Charlotte Track is about 70km and will take you three to five days. You can approach it in chunks, though, getting local boats to help you in and out, or you can do part of it as a day walk. Like Abel Tasman (the park, not the man, clearly), you can do some sections by kayak if you’re so inclined, and it is a serious magnet for mountain bikers. Two wheels good and all that. The choices, the choices.

There’s a seamless network of camping spots, resorts and lodges en route, along with water and pack transfers when you need them.

And if you’re doing the whole, beautiful thing, the distractions are myriad: Karaka Pā is worth a detour, or you may even head out onto the water to get in amongst the dolphins or penguins.

Normally folk go in at the Ship Cove end and exit at Anakiwa, effectively north to south. Details, really.

Wherever you start and stop, just remember that it gets mighty hot in summer – there’s plenty of bush but still plenty of sunshine – so pack plenty of water.

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