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Mountain bikers on Queen Charlotte Track

Biking & Walking

Waitohi / Picton is surrounded by amazing walk and biking trails. Right in our backyard is the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand's most spectacular tracks.

Popular tracks

Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track is a 71km long 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 beautiful lush native bush along the ridgeline of hills between the sounds, offering amazing 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 riders.  The track is maintained by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) and is well formed and easy to follow. It is one of the most popular tramping tracks in New Zealand, and is also open to mountain biking all year round except for the section from Ship Cove to Kenepuru Saddle, which is closed for mountain biking from December to February.

The walking track leads over mainly clay soil, with bridges over all major streams, and reaches from sea level to 400m high. It is not a difficult track, however, it is a long track, with the section between Camp Bay and Torea Saddle over 23km long. The entire one-way trip can be completed in 3 – 5 days by foot, or 13 hours by bike (typically split over two days). Queen Charlotte Track is also popular for day walks, with road access points at Camp Bay, Torea Saddle, Te Mahia Saddle, and Anakiwa, and boat transfer access at Ship Cove, Resolution Bay, Endeavour Inlet, Camp Bay, Torea Bay, Mistletoe Bay, and Anakiwa. Boat transport is available from and to Waitohi / Picton.

The Link Pathway

The Link Pathway is a community project to create a 42 kilometre walk / cycle path that links between Waitohi / Picton and Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds, NZ.

Do some or all of it, the Link Pathway offers amazing views of the inner Sounds. If 42km seems a bit much you may like to catch a ride to Anakiwa from one of the many water transport operators in Waitohi / Picton and walk, run or ride the 24km back to town. 


The Link Pathway project began in 2005 with a desire by Inner Marlborough Sounds residents to see pathways established between local communities. As initial pathways were created the vision grew to build a continuous high-standard pathway on public land between Havelock and Waitohi / Picton, that included Anakiwa. This will effectively extend the existing popular Queen Charlotte Track, and link it directly to Waitohi / Picton and the inter-island ferries, and thus the Link Pathway project took on regional and national significance.

Link Pathway map

Esson's Valley Tracks

Essons Valley Walk

The tracks start off at Garden Terrace at the end of Devon Street near Alexanders Motor Camp. The two tracks start off as one, but the path splits a few minutes into the walk to either Humphries Dam or Barnes Dam. Each track can be walked in one direction in 40 – 45mins. At Humphries Dam, a picnic area is provided beside the lake formed by the dam.

A peaceful and pleasant walk through native bush and about 3km each. The reservoirs contain the emergency water supply for Waitohi / Picton. By night glow worms may be seen at various points approximately halfway along the walk.

Tirohanga Track

A must do walk in Waitohi / Picton is Tirohanga Track, a good climb up through stunning bush that offers extensive views of Waitohi / Picton, Waikawa and the Marlborough Sounds. It only takes about 45 minutes to reach the top lookout, where you can take in the amazing panoramic views, before returning the way you came, or heading down the other side and returning through the streets of Waitohi / Picton. 

View over Picton from Tirohanga track

Victoria Domain Tracks

Victoria Domain is a 200ha reserve and essentially the "island" peninsula that divides Waitohi / Picton and Waikawa. Featuring many walking and biking tracks from easy to advanced, there is something to suit everyone. 

Popular walking tracks

Bob's Bay

Walk from Shelly Beach via either the upper or lower Bob's Bay Tracks. They're both moderate grade and will take about 20mins one-way. Take a picnic and have a swim while you're there, it's a popular spot and great for kids.

Picton Marina to Waikawa Marina

Starting at the trail beside the Picton Emergency Centre (Ambulance & Coast Guard base) behind the Picton Marina. Allow an hour each way along this moderate track and enjoy the bush trail. Food available at both ends!

The Snout

Walk all the way out to the tip of the 'island' peninsula and take in the amazing views of Queen Charlotte Sound. Allow about 2 hours each way (there's a toilet half way).  You can either start at the carpark at the top of Victoria Domain (accessible via the Sussex St entrance) or you can carry on from Bob's bay. 

Popular mountain bike tracks

According to Marlborough Mountain Bike Club, these trails are a 'must do' while in Picton. Trails start at either Picton Marina or the carpark at Sussex street. A short climb up to the Reservoir and the Ridgeline offers stunning views over Picton and over Queen Charlotte Sound. 

Trails are mostly grade 2 – 4 single track in native bush. This area allows you to head out for a fun 30min blast or spend a few hours exploring all the trails.


Trails to look out for:

Traverse the hillside just below the ridgeline on the eastern side links onto Westside.


Fast fun and flowy with views over the sounds.


A challenging short downhill blast through native forest, a real test in the wet.


Kanuka Track
Continue on from the end of Westside, riding a further 3.5kms to the end of the snout. A great family trail.


Grip it and rip it (beside Leicester Trail)
Tight, tech and  twisty trail trough the bush..whoop whoop!


Annex and the Doctor
Advanced downhill trails of short duration.

Dog Friendly Areas

Dog are permitted off-leash in the following areas, provided they are under control at all times, and the person responsible for the dog has a bag to immediately remove fouling and a leash with them.


All beaches and all river berms (owned or administered by Council) except those areas specifically identified as Dog Prohibited Areas or Dog On-Leash areas.


At any children's playground dogs must be 3 metres away from the outside edge safety surfacing (external to the playground) irrespective of the area being a dog off-leash area. Where this is not physically possible dogs must be on-leash on the formed pathway or footpath (except in dog prohibited playgrounds).


The following list identifies exercise areas of the Picton where dogs are allowed off-leash. The map should be viewed in order to determine the exact location of restrictions.

  • Auckland Street Reserve (dogs are prohibited on the Picton Skate Park)

  • Beach Road Reserve

  • Endeavour Heights Reserve

  • Esson's Valley Tracks - Humphries Dam and Barnes Dam Tracks

  • Memorial Park

  • Moana View Reserve

  • Rimu Terrace Reserve

  • Tirohanga Track

  • Victoria Domain Reserves - on the lower Picton to Waikawa track (but not on Endeavour Park). In Victoria Domain, dogs are allowed on-leash on roadways and formed walking tracks, shared walking and biking tracks. Dogs are prohibited from the mountain bikes tracks and the balance of the domain.

  • Waitohi Domain

All information as per Marlborough District Council

click here for more details

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