An early start to catch the 8am Cougar boat out of Picton, we head out across the sounds with a nice cup of tea towards Ships Cove.
Ships Cove, where Captain Cook first landed, is a beautiful cove. Once the boat had left us there all that was left was the beautiful waters, a Maori carving and a memorial to Cook.
A steep climb up out of Ships Cove and we were away through beautiful ancient forest, one of the best parts of forest of the whole walk.
We met our first Wekas shortly into the walk and thought it was very special, until we realised there are quite a few cheeky ones along the walk who were very interested in our lunches!
The forest was beautiful
With the occasional view popping out along the track
After some lunch
We continued on
And we got to our accommodation at Endeavour Inlet by 1.30.
Here we were met by the friendliest of friendly families. Steve & Pernille had taken their kids out of school for a ‘year out’ for the whole family and were renting part of their house. Within minutes of arriving they asked if we wanted to go out fishing with them. So after a drink and a dip, we set off blue cod fishing out in the bay.
A couple of hours and 4 blue cod ‘keepers’ later (two of which Tim caught) we headed back in.
And then they invited us to have dinner with them, to eat the fish we caught.
What a good nosh up – they even opened some bubbly. As well as the amazing food, it was brilliant for Evie as the kids happily played with her for hours.
Sad to leave the next morning (we took our time getting going), we set off again walking the next 15km around the coastline, to get to Punga Cove (which we could see from our 1st nights accommodation!).
The inside of a tree fern
Evie tries to get herself along the trail!
More beautiful forest and a few wekas later we sighted the bar at Punga Cove!
And we made it – to our little house in the trees.
The downside of our accommodation was there was nowhere to cook the food we were carrying. The upside was they did awesome pizza! And they had a great lawn for Evie to run around on looking out at a gorgeous backdrop.
The next day was a climb up up and up onto the Torrea Saddle. Thankfully we met Ian who was going to collect our bags on the way, as I had forgotten about his instructions to find his place and in my head we were walking a lot further than we actually did.
A walk mainly of forest, more undulating than you would expect for being on a saddle, there were a few points with spectacular views over the Sounds.
We descended very steeply to our accommodation, Ngahere Hou. Getting to the bottom we immediately commented how we really didn’t fancy climbing back up there in the heat of the morning. However it was worth the descent as the stay was another highlight of our walk!
Welcomed by Ian, we were shown to our ‘summerhouse’ room and the shared kitchen, compost loo and open air shower. He offered to take us down to the beach but we were too tired for that. So we stayed and relaxed in the hammocks instead.
Already there staying in the yurt were a lovely Danish family, and their oldest daughter doted on Evie, so she happily had a playmate for our stay.
Come the evening, Ian came and lit the wood fired hot tub, we watched a glorious sunset, then at 9.30 he came back and took us to see the glow worms on his land. Absolute magic, sitting in the pitch black by a little stream, surrounded by glow worms. An experience never to be forgotten.
Solving the problem of the climb back up and a day longer than we thought enjoyable, Ian kindly dropped us at Portage Bay and then we just had the up & down to Te Maria. A drink, swim, tea, Evie walk and bed, all pretty tired by now.
Day 5 to get to Anakiwa – a much flatter walk, some nice views, older forest again. Finding we had hours to spare, we stopped in a bay very close to the end and gave Evie a run and a snack, holding out for a well deserved cafe at the end.
The cafe turned out to be a small caravan that just did drinks and ice-cream – and it was closed!! We finished too early! A swim to cool off and then finally at 4pm the boat arrived. The end of our Queen Charlotte Track walk.
Our thoughts – not as interesting with regards views & landscapes as anticipated, you have to really love walking in forest, for hours, being deafened by the beating of circada wings. It was hillier than expected, which makes for hard work when carrying a bean. The views were few and far between and only in small gaps in the trees, as were the occasions when the track met the sea.
However, the forests were amazing and the views were spectacular. So maybe just one day shorter would have been about right!