Queen Charlotte Track

Published: March 11th 2012
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In summary - we survived! QCT conquered by the Browns....

Day 1

15kms - Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge

Woke to bitterly cold howling winds in Picton (130 km/hr). Early start to catch water taxi - unfortunately the seas were too rough to stop at a wildlife santuary island we were meant to visit, so it was straight to Ship Cove for us. The walk was enjoyable, tough uphill and steep downhill to start the day - then pretty easy after that. Some nice views of the Sounds and beautiful green rainforest. We arrived at Furneaux Lodge at around 2pm, had a hot choc and coffee on the verandah before heading to our waterfront studio to firstly stretch and then have a well deserved arvo nap! Dinner was in the lodge, 3 course meal with bottle of yummy Marlborough Pinot Noir!

Day 2

12kms - Furneaux Lodge to Mahana Lodge

Sleep in before a continental brekky and an "easy" day on the track. Again the day was overcast, cold and windy. Track took us through more lovely rainforest. Arrived at the Mahana Lodge at around 1:30pm, met Ann the host and were shown to our room. Day had started to clear and warm up so we took advantage of some sun lounges on the waters edge to relax and read. Had a little arvo nap again before having dinner with the other 8 lodge guests. After dinner we visitted the Mahana Lodge resident glow worms along their little stream - looks just like fairy lights along the stream banks - very pretty.

Day 3

24kms - Mahana Lodge to Portage Resort

The day I have been worrying about for months finally arrived! We were up early to have a hearty breakfast before tackling the longest day on the track. We couldn't have asked for a better day, mild and sunny skies - perfect. Definately a good sign. The day started with several long and steep uphill climbs until we reached the highest point on the track, around 420m above sea level. Plenty of great views of the Sounds and more lush rainforest. Started to hurt a little during the final few kms, but made it ok! We made fantastic time and arrived in Portage about 5.5 hrs after leaving Mahana, around 2pm. We then enjoyed a few drinks in the bar area overlooking the bay. Felt like we had finally returned to civilization, with a TV and some (weak) mobile reception. Had a delicious dinner at the Portage Restaurant (with a sweet bottle of Marlborough Pinot Gris) before crashing!

Day 4

20kms - Portage to Anakiwa

Another early morning woken up by the alarm - a little sore from yesterday but overall feeling pretty good! Had a nice cooked brekky before getting the 8:30am shuttle up the road back to the start of the track - no need to climb more hills than necessary! Again, the day started with a long tough climb - from close to sea level straight up to 400m. The day was mild but very overcast, drizzling most of the day. As much of the land we walked through was privately owned (and therefore not pristine rainforest), and probably because of the weather - this was our least favourite day on the track. With around 5kms left to go I started to fall apart - my right leg was in a world of pain! But only 5kms to go - we could do it! We made it to Anakiwa around 1:45pm and had a wait til our 3:30pm water taxi back to Picton. Greg (Natural Encounter Tours) met us in Picton and tranferred us to the Apex car rental - where we picked up our Corolla and drove straight to the Marlborough wine region where we checked into the best rated B&B in NZ! Dinner at the local pub and an early night for us...

Overall - the QCT is a fantastic NZ tramp. The accommodation and food along the way was great and the luggage transfers occured with out a hitch! Very enjoyable way to spend a few days with nature.

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