After an easy three days rest in Wellington, we set off for the South Island on a 9:00am ferry. A quick three hour ride would get us to Picton and from there, another two hour ride on a smaller water taxi to Ship Cove, the Northern end of the Queen Charlotte Track. The ferry was pretty quick and painless but another classic example of New Zealand being very dear (expensive). $60 for a walk on passenger. Don’t worry, in that $60, we each got 100MB of free non existent wifi and also complimentary toilets. Sarcasm aside, it was a lovely ferry with lots of options to spend more money but also some nice live music in the café area. We also couldn’t have asked for a better day to cross and approach the South Island. Blue skies all around.
Our transfer was quick in Picton jumping on our Beachcombers water cruise taxi within an hour of jumping off the Interislander ferry. We all sat atop the top deck until the scorching hot day and crazy winds got to us and we ducked inside for some shelter. We had quite a quirky captain (or so we thought). He commented on wildlife, history of the Sounds but also the asking and sale prices of almost all of the houses along the inlet. He also commented on the very people who lived in them! We all thought it was a bit odd. After all, the people on this cruise were either going hiking, or just holidaying with a little boat cruise. Why should they care about real estate? Turns out we had jumped on the NZ post cruise. The one rural post delivery service by boat in the country. As we winded around the inlet, we stopped at various docks to deliver packages and letters, all in dry bags, to the locals.
When we arrived at Ship Cove, we all had a BEER to celebrate the top of the South.
Our first trek was the Queen Charlotte Track, not one of NZ’s “great walks”, but a very popular and a scenic one. It was a surprisingly graded and wide track for the most part. Surprising because we assumed that the minute we stepped onto the South Island, it would be straight up, straight down, and a repeat of that for all remaining days on the T.A. It is true thus far not a day has gone by without seeing a mountain, but the mountains on the Queen Charlotte Track were much easier to climb than what we knew was coming for us in the next ranges. We spent two full days plus two days of 4.5km and 3km to complete the track.
l almost think to fully appreciate the QCT, it would be worthwhile to take advantage of the five day pass you have to purchase to walk the QCT. By doing shorter days, you could take advantage of the stunning beachfront campsites and go for a swim at the end of each walking day. There’s also so many great picnic spots along the trail for lunch, as well as some private campgrounds and lodges. We didn’t check out the latter but we would’ve had we taken more days. I definitely think taking it slow and soaking up the views is the way to do this walk.
Us T.A. Hikers are always a bit anxious to get going though. So off we went to Havelock!
Where we slept
Schoolboy Bay DOC Campground
Bay of Many Coves DOC Campground
Davies Bay DOC Campground
Havelock Holiday park and Campground
Highlights of this stretch
Secret Sugar Santa! In Wellington, we chose names for Sexrst Santa and lucky me, my Santa was the only prepared Santa. Whenever I happened to put my bag down somewhere, I’d always return to a red Lindor truffle hidden in one of my pockets. I’ll not go into too much detail about the time it was in my black as night hip pocket and melted alllll over.
LINK pathway from Anakiwa to Havelock. This is an ongoing project to link these two towns to avoid all road walking so it’s currently incomplete. However, the portion of the path that is complete is almost as stunning as the QCT itself. Our clear sunny day definitely helped the views.
Dinner at The Captain’s Daughter in Havelock. Not our usual splurge but we thought with Christmas coming up, we should indulge ourselves in some real food. We all had delicious salads, drinks and dessert. Sounds simple, but the lack of veggies on the trail is real.