If you want to combine fine wining and dining and sleeping in white sheets and pillows with 4 full days of tramping in one of THE MOST picturesque places in New Zealand, then doing the Queen Charlotte track as we did it, is the way to go!!
Day 1: Arrival Day
We started off our luxury adventure with lunch at Allan Scott’s Winery in Blenheim before heading over to Picton and staying the night at Sequioa Lodge Backpackers.
Julie helped me to buy a huge big load of groceries at the local supermarket and then pack it into boxes for the various days on the track. We were to make our own breakfasts, most lunches and a couple of evening meals to keep the costs down.
Day 2: Ship’s Cove to Endeavour Inlet – 16km – 5hrs
Up early the next morning we loaded the van full of our suitcases, day-packs and food boxes. On this track you get your bags transported to your accommodation by taxi-boat, all we had to carry was our day-packs.
Our taxi-boat transported us to the start of the track at Ship’s Cove and we walked around to Endeavour Inlet, about 5 hrs away, stopping on the way for lunch. Our accommodation at Furneaux Lodge had been upgraded to the Chalet accommodation which was VERY NICE! Our bags and food boxes were there waiting.
After a refreshing swim we continued relaxing, doing some group stretching and chatting together. Gourmet meals at the Furneaux Lodge Restaurant, a visit to see the gloworms and then off to bed in our white sheets…..no manky sleeping bags on this adventure!
Day 3: Endeavour Inlet to Punga Cove – 11 km – 5hrs
After a leisurely breakfast we headed off on this lovely easy walk to Punga Cove full of breathtaking views. The sun was shining, (as it did every day on this adventure) the birds were singing (ditto above) and we were all happily chatting away as we strolled along admiring the views…….
We arrived at Punga Cove, ordered our Pizza’s and salads and sat in the shade sipping on cold drinks while our waitress brought us our food……
We spent the afternoon either sitting in the spa chatting , swimming in the pool or the sea, sitting on the little wharf eating an ice-cream and reading a book or resting under a tree….
Wine and nibbles in the late afternoon sun and Nacho’s with salad and lemon meringue for dessert finished off a perfect day.
The easy day walking and the restful afternoon were needed before our big tramp the next day.
Day 4: Punga Cove to Portage Bay – 24 kms – 8.5 hrs
A long hot day today! We climbed out of Punga Cove and up onto the ridge where we had stunning views of inlets on both sides. An extra climb up to a lookout point along the way was well worth the effort and was a lovely stop for morning tea.
There were lots of little stops along the way to take yet another photo, or have a drink (we needed lots of water) or to have a little rest. We all loved our sandwiches that we made every morning and sooo looked forward to our lunch breaks.
After arriving at our accommodation at Treetops, we showered and headed down the hill to the cafe at the Portage Bay Resort for our tea. We were all feeling quite tired so it was an early night.
Day 5: Rest Day
Ahhhhh, the sheer bliss and beauty of kayaking in absolutely perfect conditions. There was not a breath of wind, the sea was glassy and soooo still and calm. The sun shone and sparkled on the water. We paddled and we just sat….and soaked it all in.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing……..more wine and nibbles later in the day, lots of laughter and chatting and another delicious “home cooked meal.” Tomorrow was going to be our last day on the track and we needed to be up early and on the track by 7.30am in order to be there waiting for our taxi-boat at 3.30pm.
Day 6: Portage Bay to Anakiwa – 20km – 6.5 hrs
By the end of our walk today we were convinced that the DOC signs had an added hour or so onto their times as we made it to Anakiwa with 2 hrs to spare. There is a little shop caravan at the end of the trail so we all enjoyed our reward of ice-creams, cold drinks or a coffee.
We had walked 71km over 4 days with a rest day added in the middle. The days were simply perfect and the views, the tranquility and absolute beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sounds totally won us all over .
Yes, the “glamping’ added an extra element of fun and ease to the walk but in no way did it detract from what is, we believe, one of New Zealand’s finest walks.
For more photos, check out the album in the Photos Gallery.
PS: I’ve already “pencilled in” some of the accommodation for Feb or Mar 2015. So if you missed out this year, then don’t worry, I’ll definitely be doing it next year!