Queen Charlotte Track (72km) NZ

“Whaaaaat? No more hiking Blogs?” my two greatest fans shouted. Ok then, due to popular demand, I’ll do something else, I’ll go tramping as they call hiking in NZ. πŸ˜‰πŸ•ΊπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ. A bit closer to home: south island of NZ. Fly to Wellington via Brisbane, a mini overnight and a skip jump flight of 30 minutes to Picton. Or so I thought. For some unclear reason the flight was changed to Blenheim and then a shuttle bus offered to Picton. Lack of wind (?), luggage and people were mentioned. No idea, didn’t get the reason. Must be the accent! πŸ˜‚ All this for $65 verses $79 on the 3.5 hours ferry. How can they stay afloat? And then I heard that the ferry I would have taken had engine trouble and went for 2 hours in a circle before it could be fixed. Imagine that happening with the plane. I would still be in the air! πŸ›©

OMG, 8 of us in this tiny 12 seater! Well, let the holiday adventures begin.

Survived and had a gorgeous day in Picton. Did some warm up walks, to Snout Lookout and the Tirohanga Track, kind of the Yellow/Red Arrow of Picton. It is SO picturesque and the weather treats me to a perfect 23 degrees.

This is The Villa Backpackers. They organised the accommodation and transfers for the Queen Charlotte Track for me.

Day 1 – Anakiwa to Te Mahia Resort ~14 easy kms. Was taken to the start by the LinkBus and here we go, the obligatory “before” shot:

I thought I put the ‘after’ shot right after the ‘before’ shot, if you know what I mean. So you can tell that I look as fresh as a daisy after as I did before. I’m so glad we don’t have smell technology yet for photos. hahahaha

Every corner you turn has stunning views

And after only 4.5 hours walking I arrived at my 1st night’s accommodation, Te Mahia Resort, lovely family run business. Glad that it was a shortish day. Have to get used to carrying a full pack again. Plus I had a fall on the red arrow last week, it was so slippery and I hurt my bumb/coxic, which is still sore. Nothing broken – Hallelujah!

Te Mahia Resort – Not bad eh?

I spoilt myself (on top of staying in a resort) to an excellent massage. Deb did all sorts of things to my bumb area and I hope it helps. 

Day 2 – Te Mahia Resort to The Portage Resort 13 km

Today’s stretch was only 8.5 km, hence I dillidallied around and explored Mistletoe Bay in the morning. The 8km had an estimate of 4 hours, which usually means steep. And it was! Back felt great though, thank you Deb!

Down there is The Portage Resort, tonight’s stay.

Met a gorgeous French guy today who said he was camping. I struck a pose, you know that back of wrist to forhead one and said ‘Well, I’m a resort type of girl’. His response was ‘Oh ChΓ©rie, I TOTALLY understand!’ accompanied by a camp sort of handmovement. Shame he was walking the other way, since single rooms cost the same as doubles. Only kidding! Nothing else eventful to report, except I’m so happy!

Tomorrow’s hike is Loooong. 25 km. I managed to get luggage transfer organised for just $10. Worth lightening my load a bit for that long etappe.

Day 3 – Portage to Punga Bay, 25 km

Manuka Lane lookout. Are we sick of beautiful views yet?

Long day, took me 8 hours, with lots of little stops. Body held up well. Thank you dear old body! I’m so surprise how few people are on this amazing track. I met maybe 12 people all day and I’m walking against the stream (yeah yeah what else is new?). Passed the highest point of 417 mts. Today a middle age couple came racing from behind, I thought they were mountain bikers. I stopped to let them go past, saying in my friendly way ‘wow, you are fast. I thought you were bikers’. ‘No English – dΓ©solΓ©’ (which I had to google πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚). Heads down and zoom, they were gone. Well, bonjour to you too! My different French experiences. Nothing much else to report I’m afraid, just me, the views and my thoughts of how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Staying at Punga Bay Resort is quite lovely, not as posh as Portage. More my style. These remote accommodations are so hard to maintain I hear. 2+ hours drive from Picton and otherwise boat access. No wonder their restaurants are expensive.

View from Punga Cove restaurant
This is Punga Bay Resort jetty and bar. The resort is all cabins and rooms nesteled into the hill.

Day 4 – Punga Bay to Furneaux Lodge past Endeavour Inlet, 13 km

Looking back onto Punga Cove Resort

Taking it easy this morning, since only 4 hours walking ahead. Met a lot more daywalkers today. You can do anything on this track, get dropped off by boat at any bay, do a walk and get picked up at the next bay. You can camp, use DOC (Department of Conservation) huts or stay in Lodges, all with luggage transfers or not. It’s superbly organised. And such a well maintained track. I love it.

These are Wekas and steel anything you leave lying around. It says everywhere to not feed the wildlife, but seems humans can’t help themselves.
Jetty at Furneaux Lodge. Lovely place.

Day 5 – Furneaux to Ship Cove 17 km, 5 hours

Made it to Ship Cove with time to spare to explore a little waterfall. The gardener at Punga had told me I MUST go. He said he’s not very spiritual but there, he heard the ancestors talk. Well, klutz me heard nothin’ but the sound of gushing water.

And this is the end. Waiting for the boat to pick me up. πŸ˜ͺ
Here it is, the mail boat, which now takes tourists along. Not much mail anymore these days I assume.

Costs:

1. Te Mahia Resort – me, myself and I in a 2 bedroom, sleep 6 self contained unit = $170, same price for 2 people 😏

2. The Portage Resort Hotel – $180, ensuite

3. Punga Cove Resort – $75, shared bathroom

4. Furneaux Lodge – $65, shared bathroom

Link Bus to start of walk $20, Beachcomber water taxi pick up from finish $71

Plus food of course.