Walking Queen Charlotte Track

New Zealand has many amazing walks all across the country. There is even one called Te Araroa that goes from Cape Reinga at the very top of the North Island where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide, all the way down to Bluff at the very bottom of the South Island. Queen Charlotte Track is a multi day walk that can be accessed from Lochmara lodge, so today I go on a walking adventure.

But before my walking adventure begins, the day starts with some kayaking. Another early start, but I like it that way. The water is so still first thing in the morning and I have the inlet to myself. I don’t see any seals or dolphins but there is other marine life to spot. The Marlborough Sounds are rich in wildlife. I spot a nesting seagull perched in the rocks. She keeps a beady eye on me. The water is incredibly clear, there are lots of shell fish including the biggest mussels I have ever seen. Some of them are the size of my forearm! I also spot some moon jellyfish. I find jellyfish mesmerising, they way they dance through the water, my eyes are fixed on them. I follow the coastline back and get to hear all the birds singing away.

Back on land I have a quick breakfast, pack my bag, lather on the sunscreen and by 8:45am I am on the track. From the lodge, it’s about an hour’s walk to get to Queen Charlotte Track. I am heading to Onehau Lookout. A couple of sections of the track are quite steep, but for the most part it is reasonably flat and easy walking. I make it to the lookout, 360 degree views of gorgeous turquoise water, golden sandy bays and forest. I didn’t realise just how much coastline there is in The Marlborough Sounds. So many little coves, bays and inlets to be explored.

It’s only 10:30am, I am not ready to head back so I decide to walk on further to Mistletoe Bay. The tracks leads me down, then further down and down some more. It makes sense, I was at the top of a lookout and now I am heading to a bay, so I need to go down, but all I can think about is how I am going to have to come back up!

The track opens up and I am wowed with a beautiful outlook over the sounds. I think this view is even more striking than from the lookout. I get out my phone to take some photos and notice that I have wifi reception. For some reason, the network connection with my provider is almost non existent at the lodge, but from here, in the middle of nowhere, I have great reception. So I video call my parents, my husband and grandmother from Queen Charlotte track and show them all the views.

I keep making my way down and after what feels like a really long time I make it to Mistletoe bay. I find a nice grassy area to eat my picnic lunch which I had prepared for me at Lochmara. I take my time to enjoy the view, refuel and take some pictures of a duck.

As I make my way back, I find the uphill isn’t as bad as I was expecting. I manage it fairly well. Sometimes the down hill is actually harder. I start looking for reference points that I recognize, places that I remember, to try and gauge how much further I have to go. I’ll confess, the last hour I was definitely feeling it in my hips and legs and all I can say is that I hobbled back to my room, very much aware of the blisters that had formed on my feet. I was out for 6 hours. I am pretty pleased with how far I managed to walk. I am also feeling rather pleased with myself for thinking to pre-book a massage for this evening.

If you are needing time away, time to escape and relax, come to Lochmara. Get lost, and there, amongst the bird calls, the stillness and the peace, you will find yourself.

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