DISTANCE
39.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,461 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

hiking

beach

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

backpacking
6 days ago

I backpacked the entire length starting at Ships Cove, ending in Anakiwa. I carried all of my gear and it took me 3 days (I'm a 25 year old female from the USA).

Day 1: Ships Cove to Camp Bay ~26.5km

Take a water taxi from Picton to Ships Cove one way. I used Beachcombers and the ticket was $71. You have the option to pay $5 between each day and have the taxis take your bags to the next stop if you'd like.

At Ships Cove the trail starts with an aggressive ascent that lasts a few hours. It then flattens for most of the rest of the day. You will pass Minors Camp on your way to Camp Bay, which is another place you could camp and do some day hikes around. Camp Bay is $8 and offers toilets, water and overhead shelter if needed.

Day 2: Camp Bay to Cowshed Bay Campsite ~23km

The day starts again with an aggressive uphill climb and throughout the day has steep up and down hiking. I recommend taking your pack off to hike up to Eatswell Lookout. Its a steep little hike off the path, but WELL worth the effort with a vista that shows you all the ground you've covered so far. The day ends with a descent into Cowshed Bay Campsite which has toilets and a cold shower. Cost is $13 a night.

Day 3: Cowshed Bay to Anakiwa ~20.5km

Steep ascent out of Cowshed Bay that continues for several hours. Probably the hardest part of the track after carrying gear for two days. This is also where you are crossing private land, so be sure to have the $18 private land pass. You can purchase this from the water taxi services or the offices in Cowshed Bay. You will be most exposed during this day, so have a large brimmed hat and sunscreen handy. The second half of this day is all flat and then downhill into Anakiwa.

Anakiwa does NOT have any hostels or service stations or rubbish bins. So don't plan for this to be your replenish spot. Use the public restrooms and running water to fuel up and either return to Picton here by water taxi, or follow the Link trail for an additional day or 20km to Picton. There are several Campgrounds along the way you can stay at for this. HOWEVER, the Link trail has been washed away in a lot of coastline areas. So I don't recommend hiking along the windy road. I hitchhiked back.