Browse Trips

Marlborough Sounds New Zealand
New Zealand ferryQueen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand Queen Charlotte Cruise & Walk


This New Zealand small ship cruise is a unique South Island adventure that introduces you to a world of Maori legends, wildlife encounters and magnificent natural wonders. Combine with thrill of walking along the Queen Charlotte track with cruising on a private, purpose-build ship for a true Marlborough Sounds experience!

SKU: NZQCW8AZ Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Trip Details:

New Zealand Queen Charlotte Cruise & Walk with Flights – 8 days

Discover a world of Maori legends and magnificent natural wonders on this unique South Island adventure!

Fly to Wellington and make your way across to Picton to embark on a journey of superb natural beauty in the Marlborough Sounds region. By day, hike the Queen Charlotte Track and spend the evenings aboard a privately owned and operated purpose-built 20 metre (63 foot) cruise vessel. The immense local knowledge of the crew allows flexible options to make the most of your journey according to weather and sea conditions.

Walk the entire length of the famous and spectacular track, or meander as much or as little as you like. The walks are unaccompanied to allow for flexibility and you can meet your floating home at a designated place each evening. Your luggage stays on the ship, so all you need to carry is a day pack.

In addition to the joys of the daily walks, there are many opportunities to spot marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins, penguins and albatross while cruising the bays. Enjoy lush native forests, coastal scrub, picturesque coves and grand panoramic vistas each day. Followed by Kiwi hospitality, home-cooked meals and the sound of the sea lulling you to sleep at night.

Why you’ll love this trip:

  • Enjoy the hospitality of local hosts onboard a private, purpose-built cruising vessel
  • Hike the full Queen Charlotte Track over four days where Maori and early European settlers have left a rich history to discover
  • Cruise some of the bays and coves along Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Visit Meretoto/Ship Cove, significant as a landing place and safe haven for explorers in both Maori and European history
  • Varied walking along shorelines and up onto ridge tops, through native forest and with panoramic views
  • Visit Motuara Island for a chance to spot some of New Zealand’s rare bird and reptile species (weather dependent)
  • Plus flights from Australia and pre-cruise accommodation is included!

Your Holiday Includes:

  • Flights – Return economy flights to Wellington from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane
    • Pre-payable airline taxes & fuel surcharges
    • Surcharge of $295 applies for Canberra, Adelaide & Hobart. Extra $450 from Perth.
  • Accommodation – standard rooms with private bathrooms, based on twin share
    • 1 night at Ibis Hotel Wellington
    • 1 motel in Picton
  • Cruise – 5 nights aboard ‘Affinity’ private cruise vessel from Picton
    • Comfortable twin share cabin with single sex shared bathroom
    • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
    • Drinking water and trail snacks
    • Experienced local crew onboard the boat
    • A visit to Motuara Island Scenic Reserve / Bird Sanctuary
    • Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative (QCTLC) Track Pass
    • Trail information, map and route notes (one per booking)
    • PLB hire (Personal Locator Beacon – one per booking party)
    • Use of gumboots onboard the boat and for going ashore


2023 – 05 January, 07 February, 29 October, 20 November

These are the lowest price departure dates, please contract us for travel at other times of the year.

Note: Departures are subject to confirmation at time of booking and price may vary depending on your travel date.

Get the Brochure:

View Brochure

Click on the button to view or download a copy of the brochure. The brochure includes more details and the full itinerary (where applicable).

Want to Stay Longer or Upgrade?

You can add extra nights in New Zealand or upgrading the Wellington hotel. We can also provide a quote for premium class flights.

Ask us today about staying at other properties or adding more services. We are happy to design a holiday that will suit you best.

Travelling Solo?

We can look after you. The single supplement is approximately $1500 to cover the costs of a solo traveller.

Booking Conditions:

This special deal is valid until 30 October 2021, unless sold out sooner. Please contact us for current rates.

All prices are per person, based on twin share, and listed in Australian dollars (AUD). The package is subject to confirmation at the time of booking and prices may change without notice. Booking conditions and cancellation fees apply.

Please read Australia & New Zealand Travel Company’s Terms & Booking Conditions prior to making a reservation. By booking any travel service with us, you have agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.

How to Book

To make a booking please call Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email reservations@anztravelco.com.

You can also select a trip and request it via this website – please make sure you enter the quantity for the number of people travelling. In the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page, add your preferred departure date plus any other information that will help us process your booking, such as departure city and travel preferences.

No payment is required to submit an online booking request, but your booking is pending and no place is being held. Your booking status will be advised when you hear from our travel consultants. Bookings are normally actioned within 24 hours – Monday to Friday.

Itinerary & Booking Info

Travel Style

Small group cruise with independent walking



Day 1
Arrive Wellington and overnight Ibis Hotel Wellington.

Day 2
Arrive Picton. Please ask us if you would like assistance with the pre-booking of the Inter-island Ferry.

Make your own way to Picton, the gateway to Marlborough Sounds, and check-in to your accommodation any time after 2:00pm. Take some time to stroll along the waterfront of this picturesque seaside town with its sheltered harbour and bustling marina, or take one of several short walks through native bushland for fabulous views over Queen Charlotte Sound. There are several galleries plus an aquarium and floating maritime museum if you prefer something less strenuous. There are many great cafes, restaurants and bars at which to dine this evening, or a well-stocked supermarket should you prefer to eat in.
Meals: Nil

Day 3
Board the boat and cruise Queen Charlotte Sound

Enjoy a leisurely morning in and around Picton before meeting the boat and crew at the Picton Ferry Terminal at 2:30pm. Board the boat for a 3:00pm departure then cruise along Queen Charlotte Sound, exploring some of the smaller bays that are not visible from the walking track. After anchoring in a sheltered cove for the night, relax into boat life with some pre-dinner snacks while the evening meal is prepared.
Meals: D

Day 4
Queen Charlotte Track, from Meretoto/Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge (17km, 6 hrs)

Depending where the boat anchored last night, there will be a short cruise after breakfast this morning to Meretoto/ Ship Cove, where you disembark. Considered one of the most important meeting places between New Zealand Maori and Europeans, the site is a historical reserve. It was a significant place of habitation for local Maori as well as the place where Captain Cook first stepped ashore, and subsequently anchored many times during the 1770's, while exploring the New Zealand coastline. The Queen Charlotte Track commences from here with a gradual steady climb through native bush, including spectacular podocarp and beech forest. With wonderful views, many places to enjoy a picnic lunch and sections of untouched native forest, today is considered the finest section of the whole track. Be sure to stop and admire one of the oldest rimu trees on the South Island, with a girth of more than 6 metres, nearing the end of today's walk at historic Furneaux Lodge. The boat will be waiting here to meet you when you arrive.
Meals: B,L,D

Day 5
Furneaux Lodge to Camp Bay (11.5 km, 4 hrs)

The walk today is shorter and more leisurely than yesterday, following the coastline all day. Returning to Furneaux Lodge after breakfast onboard, disembark at the jetty and enjoy lovely views of Endeavour Inlet as you trace its shore. Passing through nature reserve, regenerating native forest and farmland there is also some history along the way. Interpretation panels at the head of the inlet describe local antimony mining operations that burgeoned there in the 1880's. Further around the inlet pass beside a small beach at Camp Bay, where the boat will meet you. After lunch onboard, cruise about an hour to Motuara Island Scenic Reserve. You may be lucky enough to see dolphins playing beside the boat along the way. The island is predator free and is a sanctuary to many endangered native species such as the South Island Saddleback (Tieke) and the Marlborough green gecko. It is a brilliant place for birdwatching and has a walking track leading to a lookout with superb views of Queen Charlotte Sound. After spending some time here, cruise back to Endeavour Inlet to moor in a different sheltered bay for the night.
Meals: B,L,D

Day 6
Camp Bay to Torea Bay (23 km, 8 hrs)

After our usual morning routine onboard, disembark at Camp Bay or Punga Cove jetty. Today is the longest day on the whole track and also the most challenging but it has the most spectacular views, which makes the effort worthwhile. Starting near sea level and eventually reaching the highest point on the trail (475m above sea level) there are some steep sections, including the short detour to Eatwell's Lookout, named after a local landowner. The rewards are 360 degree views from the lookout, plus far-reaching panoramas of the Marlborough Sounds at every turn. Following the ridgeline for much of the day, you see both Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sounds so be sure to stop for photos and breathe it all in. This is truly a magic section of the track. From Torea Bay Saddle near the end of the day, the track drops down to the coast and Torea Bay. Your floating home waiting in the bay is a welcome sight.
Meals: B,L,D

Day 7
Torea Bay to Anakiwa (19 km, 7 hrs)

Return to Torea Bay this morning after a night on the water not too far away. Ascend from the jetty to the main track on the ridgeline once again. There is a steep climb for a few hours from here but once again the views are rewarding as you look towards Picton. This is the steepest part of the trail today and beyond this the walk follows an old bridle path, mostly descending with a few undulations to sea level. Pass through manuka scrub, open farmland and a final stretch of beautiful beech forest. A picturesque beach in the sheltered Davies Bay provides an opportune place for a last rest before arriving at Anakiwa, the end of the Queen Charlotte Track.
Departing from the jetty once back on board the boat, cruise for a short while to find a sheltered bay for the final night on the water. Enjoy something special for dinner while reflecting on your accomplishments over the last four days.
Meals: B,L,D

Day 8
Return to Picton, trip concludes

After a final breakfast onboard the boat, cruise at a leisurely pace back to Picton, savouring the final moments of life in the Marlborough Sounds. Arriving at the wharf around 9:00am, trip arrangements end with farewells to the crew and your fellow travellers. You will then fly to Wellington and fly home to Australia with fond memories on your New Zealand walking holiday.
Meals: B

Please note: The day by day descriptions published are intended as an indicative guide only. Travel by nature is unpredictable. Weather patterns, road and water conditions, public holidays, travel restrictions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.

What to expect & fitness levels

This trip involves a combination of what is described as Introductory and Moderate activity levels. The emphasis is on introductory activity with several moderate stages. These adventures involve walking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions.

Walking each day is over hilly and occasionally steep terrain. Care needs to be taken as there are some steep sections that have a clay surface and are slippery when wet. A very good level of fitness is required and your preparation should include climbing and descending stairs, hills or sand dunes on uneven terrain.

We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, jogging, stair or hill walking – three to four times a week for three months prior to your journey. During the walking stages you will need to carry your daily requirements such as water, lunch, spare clothing and personal items.

Most straightforward diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free) can be catered for but please talk to us if you have very specific requests. We will do our best to cater for you but you may need to bring along your own supplements.

A note on our self-guided adventures:
Self-guided walking requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!)

Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self-guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of it as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest.

Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide a 7-day service hotline in the event of any problems. Using directions and maps can be more difficult for solo travellers, as often two heads are better than one when it comes to finding your way. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self-guided trips, however with a methodical approach, potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self-guided trip is something that, once experienced, is often sought time and time again.

How to Book

Bookings can be made by calling Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email to reservations@anztravelco.com.

Online booking requests may also be submitted via this website by selecting a trip. Please make sure you include your preferred departure date in the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page.

Bookings are pending and not confirmed until you receive a status update from an Australia & New Zealand Travel Company consultant.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “New Zealand Queen Charlotte Cruise & Walk”

You may also like…

Get our best deals and be in the running to win a week on the Sunshine Coast. Subscribe to our email newsletters today!

%d bloggers like this: