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Day hike at Queen Charlotte track - Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge

Queen charlotte track

Summary: Whilst the 70 km Queen Charlotte track which is located at Marlborough, New Zealand can be walked in 3 - 5 days, for those short in time it is also possible to just do a section of the track in 1 day. The easy and tranquil day hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge (Endeavour Inlet) offers beautiful views of the Queen Charlotte Sound as well as an opportunity to relax half way through the hike in the secluded Schoolhouse Bay.


Rating: 4.5/5 - A beautiful day hike offering great coastal scenery

Getting there: Water taxis from Picton can take passengers on a 1 hour cruise to Ship Cove in the morning before returning to pick up passengers from Endeavour Inlet in the afternoon (I used Cougar Line).

Time: 5 hours worth of walking + a 1 - 2 hours of lazing/swimming at one of the bays.

Distance: 14km

Difficulty: Easy. (Track quality: good, Signage: great, elevation: not flat but manageable)

Facilities: Toilet, tap water (consider treating water before drinking) and mobile phone coverage are available. Bring your own lunch as there are no shops between Ship Cove and Endeavour Inlet (though Furneaux Lodge has a restaurant/cafe at Endeavour Inlet).

The Route: Download my route to your ViewFinder app  (iOS/Android) or download the official map.

Points of Interest:
  • Ship Cove
  • Schoolhouse Bay
  • Resolution Bay
  • Furneaux Lodge at Endeavour Inlet

The hike



View my recorded trail at ViewFinder

The only way to get to Ship Cove is to get is via a boat (the return journey be prebooked beforehand), luckily there are a number of water taxi companies departing from Picton that provides a great cruise through the sounds to Queen Charlotte track. Upon disembarking at the Ship Cove pier you can take a quick detour to view the information panels that describe the history of captain cook and Ship Cove.

Queen charlotte track

The track is well formed (though can be fairly muddy during/after periods of recent rain) and whilst there are some elevation it is fairly mild. As you walk away from the pier much of the next 1.5 hours of the walk is under the cover of trees and as such provides great cover from the heat of the sun.

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Schoolhouse bay campsite is the next major point of interest on this trail and has a picnic table, toilet and water tap making it a great place to have a lunch break.

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

As you continue the trail you will pass by resolution bay before going back into the bush. Whilst the coastal scenery is perhaps the most unique and beautiful parts of this trail, the walk in the bush is still nice offering waterfalls and sometimes native birds.

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

As you start to emerge from the bush, Endeavour Inlet comes into view and the final hour or so hugs the coastline rewarding you with a nice coastal scenery to wind down your walk.

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Before you know it, the gates of Furneaux Lodge comes into view and the walk comes into an end. If you have time to spare before the water taxi arrives and would like to buy something to eat, there is a restaurant/bar here. Otherwise relaxing by the waters whilst waiting for the water taxi back to Picton is an excellent way to end the day.

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Queen charlotte track

Have you visited the Queen Charlotte track before and have other recommendations for this walk? Leave your comments below...

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