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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
    • South Island
    • From US$5499 + tax

    4.52 out of 5 (from 4879 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.

Trip Reviews

  4.64 out of 5 (from 556 reviews)

I wasn't ready for the trip to end!

I don't even know where to begin...so let's start at the beginning. I spent the last year dreaming about going to New Zealand, trying to talk just one friend into going with me, and finally, with some encouragement from family, booking this trip as a first time solo traveler. And let me be clear- that was the best decision I could have made! I enjoyed every single minute of my trip and wouldn't change the experience of traveling solo for anything. From the moment I met Gary and Mel, I knew that I had made the right decision. They were welcoming, to all, from the moment they met us. Right away I knew I had nothing to worry about, and worry I did prior to the start of the trip. I could not have asked for a better group of travel mates; it was as if you had hand-picked who should be on the trip together. They were amazing! The experiences on the trip would not have been nearly as amazing if it wasn't for these awesome people with whom I had the good fortune to travel.
Gary and Mel were kind, patient, and so easy to be around. They answered every question a novice like myself asked, without ever making me feel like an idiot. Gary was witty, kept us going, and a super safe driver! ( I am not a big fan of mountain roads with cliffs on the edge that lead to instant death and not once did I fear for my life.) Mel's cooking...holy smokes was it good; so much so that the pounds I was so sure I would lose on the trip didn't happen. She has even inspired me to try to cook a couple of her dishes this winter. She made it look so easy, even with the varied diets of the group. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had chatting with both Gary and Mel wherever we were: on the bus, hiking, eating or playing cards. They brought us all together.
Now, for the adventures! Every day was different from the day prior. I saw and experienced so many new things that I can't stop talking about it. I loved the really challenging hikes (Sealy Tarns and Alex Knob) and the slower paced treks through the rain forest and valleys. The night sky at Mt. Aspiring Hut is indescribable! While we were unable to go on the second overnight hike due to weather, Gary and Mel didn't miss a beat. We were so busy and had so much fun, even in the rain, that you would never have known that we were doing almost 3 days of alternate activities. Major kudos to them for this! I could keep going on how much I enjoyed every aspect of my trip. This was the first vacation I have been on where I didn't want it to end and it truly was the trip of a lifetime. I can't wait to book my next trip with Active Adventures!
Melissa Munno Review Image
– California, United States
Winter Rimu, August 2016
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Why travel with Active Adventures?

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With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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