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Queen Charlotte Track: Day 1

Just before Christmas I realised that Brendon was working most of the upcoming Wellington Anniversary weekend. Miffed that we couldn’t take advantage of the long weekend I decided to get in contact with Janet (friend we met while travelling through South America) and asked if she would like company while walking the Queen Charlotte track, and could it possibly be on this anniversary weekend.

We decided that we would take the more luxurious option and booked the 4 day unguided walk with Wilderness Guides. This meant that our main luggage would be moved for us each day and we would stay in nice hotels not to mention be provided with packed lunches each day. This is the way to do a big walk.

Picton
Straight after work I headed to the Interislander Terminal to catch a ferry crossing after 6pm. It was an uneventful crossing, though it was a little strange travelling alone as there was no one to guard my bag & seat if I wanted to go walkies. Towards the end of the trip I decided to head outside to watch the Queen Charlotte Sounds go by. It was a beautiful evening in the sounds with the sun setting and calm waters.

IMG 0170Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Picton Lights

I was picked up by a shuttle from Sequoia Hostel and met Janet in our room. After a quick catch-up it was off to sleep.

Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge
It was an early start this morning with Wilderness guides picking us up at 7:30am. We were taken to the water taxi, given our yummy packed lunch and had our luggage labelled for their upcoming journey, then we were off to Ship Cove.

Our taxi journey was more eventful than expected with the driver giving us a commentary along the way. We saw a Salmon farm (with jumping Salmon); apparently the farm had problems at the start with the seals stealing the Salmon, also we saw some seals basking on the rocks, a blue penguin swimming past and even an endangered King Shag.

Once we were dropped off at Ship Cove we decided to potter around the area checking out the Memorial to James Cook and reading the history behind his favourite base in NZ. We also visited the waterfall nearby that was only a 30 minute diversion.

Waterfall near Ship Cove

I have to say I was impressed by the attention to detail in the Cove with nicely designed tables, chairs, bridge, shelter etc. We were hoping that this was an indication to the upcoming track; after all it is one of NZ’s great walks.

IMG 0181Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Tiki at the entrance to Ships Cove

It was time to start our trek over the hill; once we had waited for a small shower to pass and photographed a few of the local cheeky weka. We decided to take our time as there wasn’t any hurry to reach our accommodation. We would stop to listen to the bird song, try to figure out what caused the rustle in the undergrowth (normally a weka) or try and spot the noisy wood pigeons as they flew overhead. We met a few people along the track including a couple of Canadian girls that were interested in the wildlife we may have spotted, and a group of mature walkers that were checking out a pair of seats installed at the Resolution Bay lookout in memorial to an old friend.

After a while the rain set in for the day and the raincoats had to come out (even though it was still very warm). The view point over Resolution Bay was a little dissapointing since all we could see was white clouds, though after a short while an outline of the land did appear and I did see a large number of wood pidgeons fly past too. Lunch was eaten in a spot that provided a small amount of shelter from the rain and we were lucky as a New Zealand robin graced us with his presence.

Luckily we got a break in the rain as we were passing through some open private land. There was evidence of a working farm with some sheep skins drying and a collection of free range chooks. We spent time with the chickens as they were curious of us and came up close ever hopeful we had something for them (which we didn’t).

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Inquisitive Chooks

Soon we arrived at Endeavour Inlet and also civilisation where children’s laughter announced sea level as they played in the water and rain. The inlet has holiday homes everywhere so surely Furneaux Lodge must be just be around the corner. We put on a burst of speed to get out of the rain but disappointment ensued when we finally came across a sign to Furneaux Lodge that informed us that we still had 25 minutes to go!

We arrived at the Lodge dripping wet and covered in mud, the check-in staff welcomed us in mud and all saying we didn’t need to remove our boots. The lodge was kind enough to offer us a free upgrade to a Suite since they were quiet. After a short walk we arrived at our suite to find our bags had arrived safely in our room. The suite was very comfortable with a nice big shower, twin room and lounge area to chill out in. Luxury after a day in the mud!

After feeling human again from lovely warm showers and dry clothes, the room was turned into a Chinese laundry to dry out all the wet gear. We then headed to the bar for a well deserved drink and a little after to the restaurant for a lovely steak meal (which, when starving, seemed to takes ages to come out, but in fact probably came out in good time). We went back to the room for dessert as there was left over ginger crunch from our packed lunch.

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