The owners of the Echo Lodge recommended that we try a cruise and walk combination of the Queen Charlotte Track since we were limited on time. We booked a full day adventure with Cougar Line for about $75 USD per person which included a water taxi out through the Marlborough Sounds, 2.5 hours on the track, lunch and a water taxi back to Picton. We checked in at 7:45am, just before it started raining. A big storm was coming in. We left the harbor and stopped to see a few dolphins on the way out. The sea was getting rough as we made our way out in the small 15-passenger boat. Thankfully we were all seated inside because the waves were crashing right over the top of us. The driver weaved back and forth as we watched huge water cyclones forming outside of the windows. The ride was epic and Simone was far too scared to even think about being sea-sick!
We made a few stops to drop off supplies and other passengers before coming to Resolution Bay where we were the only two dropped off to hike 2.5 hours of the 3-5 day track. The rain had stopped for a bit, but the winds had picked up! We encountered about 15 downed trees and several downpours during our time out on the Queen Charlotte Track. We even had a tree uproot right next to us! Luckily it sat back down and didn’t tip over, at least not while we were standing there!
The views were amazing but we couldn’t stop long with gust of wind between 100 and 150 kmh in every exposed spot. Our portion of the track climbed the top of the ridge overlooking the ocean and passed several bays.
We were both soaking wet by the time we reached Furneaux Lodge where we had lunch included in our ticket. The $8 extra was well worth it since the 2 mains that we chose were over $20 each! Jason enjoyed a giant venison burger and Simone had a special white wine pasta dish. We sat inside the lodge and enjoyed some tea and coffee while watching the rain and wind outside. A few times the wind blew so hard all the windows in the old lodge shook. Our waitress was there on a work visa from Canada and we had a nice chat with her and her boyfriend about their travels. After relaxing a bit in the nice warm lodge we headed out to the dock where a larger boat was there to pick us up. We were told to be prepared as it was now much worse out there! The ride back in was rough but being in a larger boat we didn’t get tossed about like we had in the morning. All in all it was a great day and quite an adventure! We are sure it is a lovely hike in better weather, but really wouldn’t recommend going in the thick of a storm!
Click on the video below to see the water dance on the bay during the storm.