9. Te Araroa, Queen Charlotte Track

After an awesome Southern Hemisphere Christmas with our fellow hiker friends (involving prawns, roast ham, banoffee pie, copious amounts of alcohol, a welsh pub and swimming in the sea) we were ready to tackle the final bit of North Island Te Araroa trail.

Christmas in New Zealand!
Christmas in New Zealand!

This was a 14km section from Wellington to the coast and finishing plaque. We left our packs in town and enjoyed a very warm and sunny walk to the finish point in the company of Max. An icy dip in the sea and we were done, hurrah!

Finishing Te Araroa North Island!
Finishing Te Araroa North Island!

We took the ferry across to Picton and then a water taxi across to Ship Cove where the start of the South Island hike and Queen Charlotte track begins.

The Queen Charlotte track was breathtaking. The sea was sparkling in the glorious sunshine and the little inlets and coves gave us plenty of views along the way. So worth the extra 30 minutes hike up hill to get the most amazing view of the sounds!

Queen Charlotte Sound from the lookout
Queen Charlotte Sound from the lookout
Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte Track

We completed the 71km track in 2 nights and 3 days. Although the Queen Charlotte track is not classed as a “great walk” it definitely has the feeling of a more manicured track. The paths were very well maintained and the campsites were very busy! We definitely enjoyed being able to have a glass of wine at the end of the day however sharing the campsite with hundreds of campervans when we had hiked all day to get there didn’t have the same appeal.

Glass of sauv blanc at the end of a days hike
Glass of sauv blanc at the end of a days hike

We also made one fairly big logistical error with our food boxes… Instead of posting a box to pick up in Havelock we ended up carrying 14 days worth of food on the Queen Charlotte track.. The joys of the post office being closed over the Christmas holiday! So instead of the nice crusiey 3 day hike we had planned it was actually pretty hard work!

Our recommendation for this section of the Te Araroa would be to think of it as a holiday from thru-hiking. Definitely don’t carry 14 days worth of food and embrace the bars and caf├ęs in the evenings. After 3 days we were keen to get back in to the wilderness and looking forward to the challenge of the Richmond Range.

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