The Marlborough Sounds offers the famous Queen Charlotte Track, which is New Zealand’s finest and most diverse coastal track. It combines bush clad shoreline walking with views from skyline ridges.
Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte Track in the South Islands Marlborough Sounds is one of the greatest multi-day single-tracks in the country that is known for stunning scenery and its challenging terrain – this is a great mountain biking experience. The single track ranges from 1 meter to 1.5 meters (3 to 5 foot) wide and being clay based it is hard and fast when dry but can be very slippery when wet. While the track is not a steep track, the highest point is 406 meters (1332 feet) above sea level, there are many sharp ascents and descents that do require decent riding skills.
The 72km (45 mile) track has been purposely built to cater to both walkers and bike riders alike; the track is closed to bikes from December to the end of February every year.
For the fit and furious this is easily accomplished as a two day ride but if you want to take some time and soak up the scenery and history then a leisurely 3 or 4 day ride is a doddle giving you much more time to explore and take in a few of the beautiful side walking trips.
One of the great aspects of the Queen Charlotte Track is the accommodation options available ranging from the quintessential DOC huts, tenting, through to luxury lodges, not to mention the great cafes and restaurants en route making this a really pleasurable trip.
But just as you thought it couldn’t get any better… there is great network of water taxis available to transfer your luggage on to your accommodation – no need to lug a backpack around with you!
Skill Level: Queen Charlotte Track is graded as intermediate/grade 3 and advanced/grade 4 and does includes some steep slopes, narrow sections of track with some obstacles that are difficult to avoid or jump over.
Track Conditions: This is a clay based track it is fast when dry and slippery when wet. There are sections that are technical difficult with some obstacles that are difficult to avoid or jump over.
Fitness: If you are contemplating doing the track in 2 days then a good level of fitness is required, for a 3 or 4 day ride then moderate fitness will suffice but most riders will find some sections of the track easier to walk.
Duration: Allow 2-4 days for the entire ride, or single day excursion are available.
Options: Fully supported and self-guided options available (see contact details at the bottom of the page to get further information)
Marlborough Wine and Food Trail
Located in the lower Wairau Valley at the top of the South Islands, Blenheim, the regions capital, enjoys excellent sunny weather and is New Zealand’s premier wine growing region perfect for cycling between vineyards enjoying the tastes and soaking up the atmosphere. Connected by quiet, flat, country back roads, there are over 40 wineries to be explored all within a 10km (6 mile) radius.
Cycling from winery to winery allows you to truly experience the beauty of the wine region and the stunning mountain scenery that surrounds the valley.
Options: Guided or self-guided options are available with road support offered for collection of wine purchases en route or to collect riders that don’t wish to continue. (see contact details at the bottom of the page to get further info)
Road Conditions: Predominantly flat and easy quiet country roads
Skill Required: Basic
Fitness: A basic to average level of biking fitness required depending on the route/distance you choose to do.
Duration: 2 to 8 hours