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: 

  • Ultimate South Island Adventure - Rimu

    14 Days  | 

    South Island  | 

    US$5499 + tax

    ACTIVE 3 - 4
    • ACTIVE 1

      What's The Rush?

      I’m not a triathlete, but I’m in decent shape and I’m not looking to experience a place just through a bus window. I’m happy to slow down on the trail, soak it in and breathe in the fresh air.


    • ACTIVE 2

      Leg Stretcher

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they’re even worn in, but they don’t go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.


    • ACTIVE 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation so that I can eat and drink what I like without feeling guilty. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.


    • ACTIVE 4

      Challenge Accepted

      I’ll let my trusty guides sweat the small things, so I can focus on my goal. Getting to the top, reaching the end, achieving my dreams! Sure, it’ll be tough, but the views will be worth it.


    • ACTIVE 5

      The Ultimate

      I’ve put in the hard yards and now I get to reap the rewards. I’m a seasoned adventurer, not afraid to get my boots wet.


    • Read more about the Active Range

    4.53 out of 5 (from 5044 reviews)

    We'll take you on an unforgettable journey exploring our mountains, coastlines and countryside, on foot, by bike and with a paddle in your hands. Experience our unique culture and wildlife along the way.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    What an adventure!

    Great adventure with wonderful guides Alex and Tia!
    Stephanie Eskuri Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Very Glad We Added Kauri to Our Trip

    We added Kauri to our Rimu trip because we wanted to spend more time with the Maori culture and see the north island. Our wishes were more than fulfilled by this excellent trip.
    Rick Lent Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Kauri, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 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
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Tui experience

    This trip provided a good balance of activities with the necessary travel time to access the different parts of the South Island. The trip was well organized, and the guides were super. They accommodated our individual desires and capabilities, as well as being good cooks, leaders, and knowledgeable guides. Our group quickly melded into collegial and interesting companions, and that make the experience that much better. The itinerary provides a taste all that the South Island offers. I'm happy to have chosen this company to tour with.
    Gary Ezzell Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Tui, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Excellent way to see New Zealand

    My husband and I went on the Kauri trip in November 2017. This trip had been on our bucket list for a while and we decided to go with Active Adventures as they were offering the type of travel and activities we wanted to do in New Zealand. Our two awesome guides, Andy (encyclopedia of knowledge) and Jo (excellent cook) made us feel at home and have shown us the beautiful country of NZ while ensuring everyone had fun. We had an amazing time on the North Island and I highly recommend this trip if you enjoy outdoor activities.
    Claire Barrette-Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, December 2017

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