On the Queen Charlotte Track there are a small number of toilets, of the "long drop" variety. Purely by the nature of these beasts, you encounter the most unbearable smell when you first enter. Can I advise you that taking a big breath before you enter, is not enough. However when you finally do have to breathe, initially it us horrid, but after about 2 breaths, believe it or not, your nose goes numb and the odour doesn't seem too bad. At lease I could bear to do what I was there to do anyway.
Remember not to put anything else down the hole, as it is not a rubbish bin.
The advantages of being able to relieve yourself surely outweigh the inconvenience of the stench, and usually there is some toilet paper in these things. Good luck!
Don't be tempted to overdose on vitamins to "help" you walk the Queen Charlotte track or any other trek. One adverse effect is that can induce diarrhoea like symptoms which in turn creates difficulty with dealing to that. There are not too many toilets on the track, and diving into the bush isn't always so easy right at that moment when you need to "go".
However this is one moment, or perhaps many moments, when carrying "WetWipes" is a very good idea.
This region is no different to the rest of New Zealand, where there is a strong possibility of rapid weather changes. I just want to mention this because it really is a necessity to carry a good waterproof jacket while doing the Queen Charlotte Track. Personally I carry something warm as well, but the waterproof is a must. At least if it turns wet and cold, you can attempt to stay warm if you are dry and protected from wind and rain.
We walked in February, supposedly mid summer. But we experienced a variety of weather, some very hot and some cold. Here in the photos you can see a weather front moving through overhead of us.
Years ago the European settlers, introduced gorse to New Zealand, and now it's classified as a noxious plant. Sadly this region including the hills around the Marlborough Sounds, is infested with the horrid stuff.
I found it rather annoying that often when I went to sit down beside the track, there was gorse to contend with. It's often hard to see, and you get a bit of a shock when you think you are sitting on some nice soft groundover, only to be pricked with a thousand needles!!
In this photo you can see the gorse is the brown prickly pieces, scattered throughout the other stuff. Just pays to examine your rest area, before you put down.
Mountain bikes are permitted on certain sections of the track, at certain times of the year. They are required to give way (yield) to walkers, however it's a little difficult at times, especially on corners. I recommend walkers do not use iPods or walkmans/mp3 players as it is impossible to hear a coming bike in that instance.
There's generally room for everyone, but awareness is the key here. It's a very good track for mountain bikes as well as walking.
If you come across a pack sitting on the side of the track, neither worry nor touch it. This is the kiwi way of just indicating that someone has gone off track. Usually for either toilet duties, or maybe to take a photograph or change clothes. Whatever, if we go offtrack we leave the pack as an idicator. For example I went off track recently knowing I was only being followed by two hikers. They went past and saw my pack. This was good because if they reached my husband ahead and he had asked "did you see the lady with curly hair and a camera" they could at least say they saw my pack. If I had not left it, they could only say "we saw no sign" and he would immediately worry.
It's more of a safety thing/indicator really. And on the unlikely event of someone going missing, eg getting lost or falling, at least searchers would know where they left the track.