Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Snapshots: Queen Charlotte Track

Our descent into Marlborough, BHE, New Zealand, gave us a preview of our upcoming visit to the region. First we flew over the crenellated, sunken valleys of Queen Charlotte Sound, then we came in low over the vineyards of Marlborough wine country.

Our first priority was to hike the Queen Charlotte Track, a path people usually walk over four days.

Thursday December 28
d. AKL 9:30a VNZ8203
a. BHE 11:00a (Blenheim)
Picton Beachcomber. Laundromat.
Friday December 29
9:30a Boat check in, Cougar Line. Purchase trail passes at Adventure Company, next door.
Start Queen Charlotte Track, Meretoto/Ship Cove.
Saturday December 30
Sunday December 31
Punga Cove. Laundromat.
Monday January 1
Tuesday January 2
End Queen Charlotte Track
4:00p Boat pick up at Anakiwa

We stayed in the port town of Picton for one night before taking a boat to the start of the trail at Meretoto/Ship's Cove.
From there, we started our first day of hiking along a well-maintained trail with fabulous views of the Sound.
Hiking this trail is really comfortable. Along the way there are lodges with good rooms, crisp sheets, and decent restaurants and bars.

Our first port of call was Furneaux Lodge, a place that is only accessible by hiking trail or boat. Our backpacks came by boat: I must confess we didn't carry them.
This is the view from our room, and this is a view of our dinner, in progress:
The wine is local, as are the discarded, distinctively green-tinged mussel shells.

We've stayed at Furneaux Lodge before, in 2006. We decided this was a good place to enjoy a rest day, so we stayed two nights. Of course, on our rest day, we hiked.
Wobbly suspension bridge.
After a day of "rest" we continued to our next place for the night, Punga Cove.
View from our room at Punga Cove.
We arrived at Punga Cove in 2017 and left next day in 2018.
January 1, 2018 was our longest hike.
We enjoyed one final night on the trail (Portage Lodge), then another long-ish hike along glorious ridge trails.
At the end of the trail a boat picked us up and took us back to Picton.
Note. I booked the accommodations and the boats individually. Cougar Lines does not charge extra for bag pickup and drop off at each lodge.

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