Tucked away in the Pacific Ocean is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to. With such a beautifully rich landscape, there are places in New Zealand that can just take your breath away.
Setting out from Wellington (Windy Wellington) and taking the ferry to the South Island (approximately 2 hour boat trip) arriving at Picton and headed off on a 4 day hike along the Queen Charlotte Track the next day. We chose to divide the 71km (40 mile) hike into 4 days. Hiking just a few hours each day to hotels we had prebooked, giving us time to relax and soak in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds at the end of each day with a glass of wine and a delicious meal.
The food and wine in New Zealand is second to none. Sensational seafood, fresh & delicious fruit & vegetables and of course those Marlborough wines! So too the vivid colors of nature and wildlife. The great thing is that there are no nasties to sting, bite, or eat you when hiking or swimming. We traveled in February and found the weather to be perfect hiking weather at this time of year. The temperatures were mild with fine days. I can remember one day in particular, at the end of a rather hard day of hiking sitting on a pier, dangling my slightly tired and swollen feet in deliciously cool water sipping on a long, cool drink, gazing out on the beautifully blue water of the sound. Oh what a wonderful feeling that was!
The hiking is varied and so is the landscape. The track will take you through a changing landscape of farmland, virgin native bush, fern-lined rainforest tracks and beautiful bays, coves, and inlets. The glimpses of the sound that you see as you make your way along the track serve to tease you as you edge your way toward the spectacular view that is waiting at the peak of the next hill or the beautiful inlet at the bottom of the next decline. The birdlife too is wonderful – fantails, bellbirds, and other native birds as well as many endangered species.
It’s also interesting to note the historical significance of the area, as Captain James Cook sailed into these Sounds in the late 17th Century.
The hiking is not particularly difficult, just a reasonable level of fitness, and the terrain is mainly well-worn tracks.