Queen Charotte Track

Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
Trip End Mar 03, 2007

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Was tempted to spend the night in Nelson only 45kms away but considering I had already stopped their and there was nothing out of the ordianary that I wanted to see, I decided to make the trek back to Picton anxious to get underway on the Queen Charlotte trak after my taster on the fabulous Able Tasman Trak. It was pretty much smooth sailing all the way back to Havelock (the green lipped mussle capital of the world, my favourite food) where I took the scenic route around the hills and bays rather than going through Blehnim.
Back in Picton I booked into the same campsite that I had stayed in last week. It was a bit strange without the other two but nice to be somewhere a little familar. I ended up in town, first booking a boat to take me to the start of the trek the next day and then also the Ferry to Wellington on Sunday at some ungodly hour of the morning.

The next day I got up fresh as a daisy and ready to get underway on the track. I caught the Endevour Express, 'the backpakers boat' to the start of the track at Ships Cove at the 71km mark. I had a quick look around the Captain Cook monument and had a wee read of the history of the area before climbing into the first step section of the track amid awesome weather. I had smoething like 26kms to hike that day and just less the next day before two easier days of about 12km each.

After completing one section of the hike and taking a break at a vantage point I came across some Weka birds, Native to NZ that don't fly. These birds are pretty bold and its pretty easy to see why they have survived where so many of NZs birds have fallen victim to pests. I managed to get a couple of photos with the Weka's pretty much touching the lense of the camerea. After the break I had a massive section gently sloping down untill Endevour Inlet came into view. All the bays and coves are really decieving as you think your almost there and then you came across another headland with another long cove stretching kms back that have to be navigated. I however finally managed to get to my capsite at Punga Cove after about 6 hours of hiking at a pretty decent pace. The hike is meant to take 8-9 hours.

The campsite was Uber basic but 5 minutes walk away was a report with a bar down on the waterfront. Needless to say I partook in beverage before reatreating to my tent amid thick storm clouds and pretty sore legs.
The next day rained pretty much all day but it didn't seem to bother me and I polished off the 22kms again in pretty quick time. Again there were loads of birds on the track but the highlight was running into 6 wild baby boar on the track. At first I was a bit nervous as to where the Mom was but they seemed to running amok on there own. After freaking out on seeing me they all scuttled off up the track but ran into a startlled foreign tramper and came charging at me squling and grunting and then leapt into the bush.
Again i reached the campsite pretty early despite the rain and set up before heading to a local shop in Portage to stock up on some supplies.

The next day the sun was back out and I only had 10kms to hike. I ended up at the campsite at Mistletoe bay before midday. The campsite here was privately owned rather than the DOC sites I had been staying in, so it had all the basics including a shower, thank god. I spent the day sunbathing and swimming off the jetty in the gorgeous bay before collecting some more shell fish in the evening as the tide went out. Awesome.
The next day I took my sweet time as I again only had about 12kms to go until the end of the track and the boat wasn't going to be picking me up untill 4pm. Its was a pretty cruisy track and before I knew it I was at the end of the hike.

After the hike I managed to scramble over to a cafe in the small town and grab some much needed food as I had run out by this stage. The boat came right on time and before I knew it I was back in sunny Picton. However my bags weren't and had been left behing at mistletoe bay ( you pay the company to transport your bags each day so you don't have to hike with them - sweet!). I snuck back into the campsite I stayed in a few days ago and had a shower before collecting the bags that had been fetched, then I had a couple of beers whilst watching the Super 14 Rugby that had just started and also had a wicked feed of Fish and Chips before parking the car up and crashing for the night ready for the ferry in the morning.
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