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Biking the Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track, located at the top of the South Island in the Marlborough Sounds is unique for its stunning coastal views, historical landmarks and wonderful variety of native bush and wildlife. The track is regarded as one of New Zealand’s best single track mountain bike rides. The Track is 71km (44 miles) in length and it has been purposely built to cater to both walkers and bikers.

Queen Charlotte 1

It is the longest piece of continuous single track in the country and is suitable for novice riders while being challenging enough for the experienced mountain biker. Renowned for its stunning scenery and challenging terrain it is a mountain biking experience like no other, and the best part - you don't have to carry your pack! The temperate climate of the area enables the track to be traversed all year round with the most best season being from November to May. Stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, this track will wrap you in the mystical beauty that is the Marlborough Sounds, and totally absorb you for many days.

How fit do I need to be?

For bikers, a moderate level of fitness and experience is required. Most of the track is wide and benched, varying from 1 to 1.5m in width and all major streams have been bridged. The surface is mainly clay soil and is firm in dry conditions, providing relatively easy riding, but when wet can often be slippery. The surface does have areas with rocky loose material, tree roots, steps and some bluffs, so care is required at all times.

How technical is the track?

The Queen Charlotte Track can be ridden by all ages and abilities. While the track is not a "steep" track (the highest point is 406 metres or 1332 feet from sea level), there are many short sharp ascents and likewise descents, which require reasonable riding skill. To ride the entire track from start to finish, you need to be a reasonably skilled rider, as it is regarded as a technical track. However the segment that we ride on the 3 day bike option on the 'Rimu' trip provides easier options, such as the section from Waterfall to Anakiwa, for those that are less skilled or unsure of their abilities. Most importantly the Queen Charlotte Track provides a wide variety of biking terrain to choose from, so your guides can cater your ride to you and your group's abilities to ensure that everyone has a great time!

Check out our 'Rimu' trip to learn more about our 3 day bike option on the Queen Charlotte Track: 

  • Rimu Ultimate South Island Adventure

    • 14 Days
    • US$4,999 + tax

    4.52 out of 5 (from 4630 reviews)

    Rimu

    Nat Geo Logo 2015This is our signature adventure and a great, outdoorsy way to see New Zealand. We’ve been fine-tuning this perennial favourite since 1996 and it’s simply an awesome trip. You’ll explore the most beautiful, famous and little-known places in the South Island – up close and personal – with legendary hospitality and our unsurpassed attention to detail. For a great way to see the North Island too, combine this trip with our 11-day 'Kauri' (5-day 'Kauri' options available).

    Activity level: The ‘Rimu’ is one of our more adventurous trips, but has options to suit a wide range of ages and outdoor experience. Typically, hikes on the ‘Rimu’ trip range between two and five hours to complete, with longer hikes available on the multi-day option. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace and shorter one to three hour hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Kiwi’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

In this section

Perfect Trip for anyone who loves Nature!

“If you enjoy being outdoors and like to challenge yourself this trip is for you. I wasn't an avid hiker before signing up for the Rimu trip but after reading the itinerary I knew I couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity. You never know what you are capable of until you try and that is how I feel after climbing up to the Angelus Hut and hiking to Mueller ridge. I had never climbed a mountain before (since there are no mountains where I live) but the views are more than worth the climb.
This trip is the best way to see all that the South Island has to offer, it is the perfect balance between adventure, relaxation, self-exploration, and cultural immersion. Anyone can go to New Zealand and rent a car and go hiking, biking, and Kayaking; however, they will miss out on the best parts of traveling to a new place and that is the knowledge and culture that only someone who lives there would know. The guides (Tory and Vanessa) were awesome! Tory is an amazing cook, and Ness was great at making jokes and keeping the atmosphere cheery during the longer drives. I loved listening to the guides tell us about the Maori people and the local legends or folklore. I actually thought Ness was lying to me when she would tell me that the views get better after being left speechless by the scenery, but every day was better than the previous!
I have to mention the FOOD!!! The food alone is enough for me to sign up for this trip again. When I travel I don’t always know what the local food is or would be but with this trip the guides cook you all sorts of local food and all the food is fresh and delicious. If you don’t like something they will make sure to accommodate you.
Ness and Tory made you feel like this was a trip among friends and family, not strangers. I will come back to New Zealand again!”
Brian Heinz's Review Image
– Wisconsin, United States
Rimu, May 2017
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