The full length of the Queen Charlotte Track can be biked in 1-3 days depending on skill, fitness and your bike. Any of the three sections - each with its own distinct grades and terrain - can be done one after the other or alone.
Ship Cove/Meretoto – Punga Cove
5 hours approx
Grade 3/intermediate to Grade 4/advanced
From Ship Cove/Meretoto, the track climbs gradually to a spectacular viewpoint across Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui to Motuara Island. From here, an undulating section of old bridle path leads to the lookout over Endeavour Inlet and downhill to Furneaux Lodge, the perfect spot for lunch.
The track follows the coastline around the inlet to Punga Cove, through lush punga-filled gullies and over a swingbridge.
A shorter version of this ride ending at Punga Cove - for those with less ability or fitness, or wanting a shorter ride - is Resolution Bay to Punga Cove, or Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove.
Ship Cove/Meretoto to Punga Cove is open to mountain bikes from 1 March to 30 November each year.
Punga Cove to Torea Saddle/Portage
4 hours approx
Predominately Grade 3/intermediate, with some Grade 5/expert downhill
This section of the Queen Charlotte Track is the most technical and advanced, with challenging climbs to the ridgeline and exhilarating downhills, but all on a well-formed track.
Torea Saddle to Anikiwa
4 hours approx
Predominately Grade 3/intermediate. Climb from Torea is considered Grade 5/expert
The day starts with a steep uphill out of Portage, but the hard work is well worth it when you're rewarded with spectacular ridgeline views over both Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and Kenepuru Sound before dropping into Mistletoe Bay.
From here the track is undulating, taking in open meadows and coastal forest before ending in Anakiwa. Catch the Cougar Line water taxi back to Picton - departs around 3.30pm Oct-Apr and 3pm May-Sept - booking recommended.