Explore Picton on Foot
With sensational views over the Marlborough Sounds, native forest and a range of track lengths, Picton has plenty of hikes and walks to keep your feet busy! What’s more, almost all of the hikes listed below can be easily walked to from within Picton itself.
Hike in the Victoria Domain with a wealth of tracks to choose from, whether it’s a short hike to Bob’s Bay or a day trip to The Snout. On the other side of Picton, The Link Pathway provides some of the best views of the Marlborough Sounds found with easy access from Picton. Of course, we can’t forget the famous multi-day hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. A boat ride for either a day to five days is the most popular way to take on the tramp through lush forest and emerging on paradise-like coves. So take a look at the hikes in Picton below to find the best places your feet can take you in the Gateway to Marlborough and the Marlborough Sounds.
1. Hilltop View/Tirohanga Track (45 Minutes One Way)
Let’s cut to the chase. If you want great views of Picton itself, then hike the Tirohanga Track up to the Hilltop View. It’s a pretty steep track but well worth it for the views of Picton, Waikawa and Queen Charlotte Sound. If you have more time, you can make this a loop by continuing along the track after the Hilltop View down to the streets of Picton. This may take you 2 hours to complete the whole loop.
Location: Start this walk either on Newgate Street or from Garden Terrace.
2. The Link Pathway, Picton to the Whenuanui Bay Lookout (1h30mins One Way)
Picton’s newest hiking edition is definitely worth discovering even if the whole track linking Picton to Havelock is not complete yet. Hike (or bike) in the forests of the Whenuanui Bay Scenic Reserve and emerge to outstanding views overlooking the Queen Charlotte Sound! Although you can walk to the entrance from Picton, most people prefer to drive to the off-road parking area on the Queen Charlotte Drive coastal road and take it from there. We recommend walking to the two viewpoint benches overlooking Whenuanui Bay and returning the same way. Learn more about biking this trail in our guide to Mountain Biking in Marlborough.
Location: The start of the Link Pathway is about 3km (2 miles) up Queen Charlotte Drive. Look out for an opening in the trees on your left side, with an offroad parking area 50m (55 yards) further up to your right. The pathway is easy to miss so keep an eye out!
3. The Queen Charlotte Track (3-5 Days One Way)
Extending 71km (44-mile) along the Queen Charlotte Sound, the Queen Charlotte Track is an adventure not to be missed! This multi-day hike is a journey that incorporates native bush, coastal views of the Queen Charlotte Sound and the Kenepuru Sound. Walk or bike for a day or more with transport options on the road and via water taxi. Staying overnight can be a cheaper experience by pitching a tent on a beautiful cove or make it luxurious by staying with the many hosts with food and wine on offer. This is one of the 10 Marlborough Must-Dos.
Location: Start your walk from multiple entry points accessed by water taxi setting off from the Picton Marina. Otherwise, road access is possible from Anakiwa, Te Mahia Saddle, Mistletoe Bay, Torea Saddle and Bay and Kenepuru Saddle.
4. Picton to Shelly Beach (10 Minutes One Way)
Go to the beach on this easy walk over the marina bridge, known as the ‘Coathanger’ bridge and turn left at the Victoria Domain information board. Shelley Beach also has a beached historic scow (dingy boat) to look at.
Location: Victoria Domain. Start from the Picton Marina footbridge.
5. Upper Bob’s Bay Track (30 Minutes One Way)
Like Lower Bob’s Bay Track, but higher! This is a popular and easy-going walk with excellent views over the marina and Picton Harbour. The track eventually merges with the Lower Bob’s Bay Track to take you to Bob’s Bay. It’s a great swimming beach and a place to be hit by the wake of the North Island ferries! To make this hike a bit of a loop, return on the lower Bob’s Bay Track.
Location: Victoria Domain. Start from the Picton Marina footbridge, turn left at the Victoria Domain information board and up past Shelley Beach.
6. Lower Bob’s Bay Track (30 Minutes One Way)
Afraid of heights? Afraid of higher views? Take the Lower Bob’s Bay Track. In all seriousness, this walk is worth checking out for walking along the steep bluff edges and getting more great views of the Picton Harbour. Make this track into a loop walk by returning on the Upper Bob’s Bay Track or along the rocky shoreline at low tide.
Location: Victoria Domain. Start from the Picton Marina footbridge, turn left at the Victoria Domain information board, then follow the shoreline of Shelley Beach to the Lower Bob’s Bay Track.
7. Harbour View Track (20 Minutes One Way)
Either walk or drive to this lookout point over the Picton Harbour. To get there by foot, take the Upper Bob’s Bay Track for 5 minutes after the shipwreck of the Echo, then the Harbour View Track branches off taking you to a road that leads uphill for a further 10 minutes to the lookout.
Location: Victoria Domain. Start from the Picton Marina footbridge, turn left at the Victoria Domain information board. Take the Upper Bob’s Bay Track, then the Harbour View Track. Alternatively, drive there from the end of Sussex Street.
8. The Snout Track (50 Minutes One Way)
The Snout Track is 50 minutes walk from the Snout Track car park, but a track connecting it to Harbour View will make this an all-day hike well worth doing! Enjoy extensive views, with a highlight being the Queen Charlotte View. Here, you will find a picnic area and toilet. The Snout is the very end of the Victoria Domain and peninsula.
Location: Victoria Domain. Either start from across the Victoria Domain sign for about a 3-4-hour trip to The Snout or start from The Snout Track car park, signposted from Endeavour Park.
9. Humphries Dam (40 Minutes One Way)
Damn, we love a good dam! Situated in the Esson’s Valley behind Picton, the track follows a formed road eventually turning into an easy gradient track. Walk through native forest until you reach a picnic area next to a dam-formed lake.
Location: Essons Valley. Start the track at the end of Garden Terrace.
10. Barnes Dam (40 Minutes One Way)
For an alternative dam walk, check out Barnes Dam in the Esson’s Valley. Follow a water supply pipeline to the base of Barnes Dam, then take the steep stairs all the way to the top of the dam.
Location: Essons Valley. Start the track at the end of Garden Terrace, then take the Humphries Track for 10 minutes where the Barnes Dam Track then breaks off.
11. Karaka Point Track (10 Minutes One Way)
To head further afield, check out this old Maori pa site (fortified village) at Karaka Point. The earthworks of terraces made by the Maori to defend against enemies can still be seen, as well as great views out to Queen Charlotte Sound. A couple of tracks lead down to some beaches where the shoreline can be walked across at low tide.
Location: 8km (5 miles) from Picton. Take Waikara Road then continue of Port Underwood Road to Kakara Point.
12. Picton to Waikawa Track (50 Minutes One Way)
Take a trip to the Waikawa Marina from the Picton Marina on this shared walking and biking track. Once you reach the end of the track, check out the Waikawa Foreshore Reserve by turning right into Marina Drive, left at Beach Road, and continue down Nautique Place.
Location: Start from the Picton Marina bridge and turn immediately right to start the Waikawa Track.