Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track

In which Miles samples the first few hours of the Queen Charlotte Track, from Anakiwa to Cullen Point Lookout.

You can view the full gallery of 19 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

My friends were unable to do another weekend on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.  The planning was somewhat complicated due to a low-tide only crossing, campsite booking and water taxi availability, so I decided against a second weekend on the track myself.  I decided to move slowly toward Picton and the ferry to the North Island, and to do a day walk on the Queen Charlotte Track instead.

I had to stop for the view of Pelorus Sound, largest of the sounds which make up the Marlborough Sounds.

Pelorus Sound
Pelorus Sound

Next stop was the southwest end of the Queen Charlotte Track at Anakiwa.

Start of Queen Charlotte Track at Anakiwa
Start of Queen Charlotte Track at Anakiwa

The Queen Charlotte Track is a 70km long New Zealand walking track between Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound in the Marlborough Sounds. It extends from Ship Cove in the north to Anakiwa in the south. For most parts, the track leads through native bush along the ridgeline of hills between the sounds, offering good views either side.

From early 2013 on, the Queen Charlotte Track also has become one of the New Zealand Cycle Trails, accessible for mountain bike-level riders.[1]
Wikipedia

Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte Track

From the portion of the track that I walked Kenepuru Sound is never visible.  Views of Queen Charlotte Sound are abundant though.

Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte Track

There’s a campground at Davies Bay, then an ascent to Cullen Point Lookout.

Davies Bay from Queen Charlotte Track
Davies Bay from Queen Charlotte Track

Quail were plentiful, and pretty fearless, just before the lookout.

Quail on Queen Charlotte Track
Quail on Queen Charlotte Track

Along the way I had enjoyed a nice view of a nest of pretty big cormorant (shag) offspring.

Cormorant nest on Queen Charlotte Track
Cormorant nest on Queen Charlotte Track

I took a break and took in the view from Cullen Point Lookout before heading back to Anakiwa.

View from Cullen Point Lookout
View from Cullen Point Lookout

I had gotten a  late start again, but this time I was prepared, with freshly charged batteries in my head-mounted light.  It was dark soon after I left Davies Bay.

I saw my first live possum in New Zealand on this walk.  Actually, I saw my first several.

Ringtail possum, from Wikimedia Commons
Ringtail possum, from Wikimedia Commons

The common brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in an attempt to establish a fur industry. There are no native predators of the possum in New Zealand, so its numbers in New Zealand have risen to the point where it is considered a serious pest. Numerous attempts to eradicate them have been made because of the damage they do to native trees and wildlife, as well as acting as a carrier of bovine tuberculosis. By 2009, these measures had reduced the possum numbers to less than half of the 1980s levels – from around 70 million to around 30 million animals.[1]

Since 1996, possum fur, obtained from about two million wild-caught possums per year, has been used in clothing with blends of fine merino wool with brushtail possum fur – variously known as Ecopossum, Merinosilk, Merinomink, possumdown, eco fur or possum wool. Possum fur is also used for fur trim, jackets, bed throws, and possum leather gloves.
Wikipedia

Possums are the most hated of New Zealand’s pest species, and possibly the most destructive to the native birds and animals.  New Zealanders are encouraged to kill many invasive species on sight, and they slay possums with great enthusiasm whenever they get the chance.  The chance to do so appears most often on the roads, and kiwi people will swerve to hit a possum.  Road kill is the only form of possum I had seen before this walk.

I was actually a bit intimidated by the first possum I saw, partly because of the way they spring up and grasp onto the trunks of small trees and stare at you with eyes that glow much brighter and redder at night than shown in the stock photo above – but also probably because of their reputation in New Zealand.  I joke that it may be illegal in New Zealand to say this – but they’re kind of cute, and an interesting animal to see in the wild.

Bluebridge Ferry from Cullen Point Lookout
Bluebridge Ferry from Cullen Point Lookout

I finished my walk back in the dark without any problems, and camped in nearby Picton for the night.

You can view the full gallery of 19 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

One thought on “Queen Charlotte Track”

Comments are closed.