Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

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Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 11:35 am

Not sure if I can name and shame or not but last Monday I was "forgotten" at Torea bay on the Queen Charlotte Track. I was scheduled for a 5pm pick-up which never showed. It wasn't a pleasant experience sitting on a cold, rainy, windy jetty for 3 hours waiting for a boat that wasn't comming. I was just glad I had my full pack from the night before (I camped at Camp Bay and walked the section with my full pack). If I was doing it as a daywalk option and had less clothing I would have near froze. The wind and rain were whipping straight up the bay and the tiny shelter on the jetty offered some protection but I was limited. I had merino thermals, fleece jumper, primaloft hoddie and my rain gear over all that. Gloves and a beanie too. Still I was cold and starting to shake. Ended up doing star jumps to keep warm and scoffed into my chocolate stash.

My worried family had to argue with the company that I wasn't there yet. Fortunately they just happend to be waiting for me at 6pm and noticed them closing up the shop. Once they questioned them they said nope, we have done all our pick-ups today.... Um no sorry you had not. Finally they realised the error and sent a water taxi straight over to pick up one cold, cranky aussie.
The next day I affronted the owner and all he could do was shrug and admitt it was a mistake by the girls. He was very sorry but I just don't think he could see the potential for a larger issue if an unprepared walker was in the same situation.

Now like I said I had enough gear to have survived the night or I could have just walked the 45 minutes over the saddle to Portage and the resort lodge but I find it completly unacceptable that a company could just "forget" someone. Surly they have a duty of care or something to ensure this can't happen.
I passed walkers on the track that day with just small camelbacks and a rain coat. They would have been frozen if left waiting for 3 hours with that kind of gear. The QCT is promoted as a walk where you only need a day pack so it would be normal for people to have minimal gear as I guess the boat transfer service is the back-up if the conditions are feral.

Just thought I'd post this up and even though a well trodden track like the QCT is easy walking, the somewhat remote access by boat can cause issues if someone stuffs up.

I was all but ready to walk over the saddle but a local family that came in on a boat said the water was very choppy and the bigger boats can be delayed in the swell for up to 2 hours getting around. I had mentally thought if the boat wasn't there by 6:30pm I'd walk out or set-up camp for the night. Old mate turned up in the water taxi at 6:25pm.....
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby roysta » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 6:30 pm

ah Forest, I smiled (sort of) when I read your post.
Two years ago exactly the same thing happened to me at the end of the Dart/Rees in NZ.
I'd organised a pick up for 5pm at Muddy Creek.
This is not the normal pickup for this tramp, usually it's done the other way round.
A group of 5 of us arrived at Muddy Creek at 4.45pm and waited patiently, but when 5.20pm had come and gone we kind of thought no one was coming.
So, with not much food between us there wasn't really any option than to start the 25km walk on gravel road to Glenochy.
A few kilometres down the road I flagged down a ute with two guys onboard.
They had things to do further up the valley and were returning 30 minutes later.
When they came back they loaded us into the vehicle (it would be illegal travel here) and off we headed into Glenorchy.
There's such a nice pub there.
To cut a long story short, why is it that bosses always want to blame the "girls" in the office.
Anyway there was no way I was paying for that non trip, so the refund came.
Six months later when I used the same company again the "girl" in the office said "we'll pick you up this time".
It was good that someone remembered.
The moral of the story is that all companies stuff up some time.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 6:52 pm

which company was it?
hell i'd have high tailed it over to the bar at the portage to drown my sorrows, there is cell phone coverage once you get over to the portage side of the hill. possibly on the saddle as well.
when i walked the track, the portage hadnt paid attention to an email we sent about which boat our luggage was on, i rang on the ridge to double check, and they had our luggage because they just saw it at the wharf unattended after the ferry dropped it off. and hadnt taken note of our email so they had no idea who's luggage it was.... good thing they didnt just leave it at the wharf.
doesnt matter where you are in the south island, when the southerly blows, its cold....
i use cougar line , done queen charlotte walk twice, we used them to ferry our main luggage between accomodation and they always delivered it correctly, saw them do a meet up with another ferry in the middle of the sound and transfer luggage between boats so they seem pretty organised about whats going where when...
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 7:03 pm

came off a club trip once in the middle of winter, our pickup wasnt there, we were out of food, starving, and totally knackered after four days of mountains and snow, no communication with the vehicle, miles from the nearest town.. pre cell phones.... the ranger let us stay in his quarters and wait, and wait, we'd come out an hour late and the vehicle didnt wait , it went to pick up another group and left us too it, luckily they came back several hours later....
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby Mutley » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 9:56 pm

Mate, I've confirmed the Larapinta transfers so many times, they'll be busting to pick us up to get some peace. Glad to hear it all worked out in the end.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby Onestepmore » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 10:29 pm

My family walked the QCT a year ago, and we used the Malborough Adventure Company for our lodge bookings and ferry transfers for gear. All went off without a hitch. I'm glad you got 'rescued' in the end, but it must have been worrying and frustrating for you. I hope they didn't charge you for the last trip!
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 3:49 am

surely with the volume of people these companies process they should have an electronic system they load people into when they make their bookings and those people stay in the system... whatever ferry company this is looks like it doesnt have a particularly effective system of recording their bookings....
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 7:20 am

I was probably most annoyed with there lack of any concern. All they offered were 2 bottles of local wine, no refund was offered and I know I should have chased that but I just didn't have the time as we had a screaming baby in the car :roll:

None of the companies mentioned here were the guilty party. But they are one of the larger transport mobs.

wayno wrote:hell i'd have high tailed it over to the bar at the portage to drown my sorrows, there is cell phone coverage once you get over to the portage side of the hill. possibly on the saddle as well.

LOL I had already spent 2 hours down at the bar as I finished the section from Camp bay in 4.5 hours. Great steak sanga !!
I really didn't feel like walking back over there though..... More of a mental state though at the situation was stopping me, that and the unknown. Honestly I wasn't all that worried, cold yes. More concerned at what I knew my family would be thinking if I didn't turn up. That and it would have delayed our travel plan's half a day if I wasn't in Picton that night.
The phone thing was an issue. I had my phone on international roaming last year, for some reason this trip I could only text certain numbers and not make any calls. But I could recieve calls. Totally frustrating and that reminds me, I must look into it with optus...
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 8:29 am

Inadequate preparation, you should have taken an inflatable kayak...... :D
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby Hallu » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 11:27 am

Or build one with some branches and your pack, Grylls' style lol. Indeed, I can't believe they didn't offer you a refund... You should mention the name of the company, what's wrong with that ? It's actually more dangerous to not mention it, they clearly don't have an efficient checking system... When your accommodation is crap, you put a bad review on booking/tripadvisor, there's nothing wrong with that. They're not gonna sue you or anything, you're in your right.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 12:17 pm

at certain times of the day the place is going off with water taxis , at the wrong time of day its dead quiet.... ironical it happened at torea bay, of all the accomodation places near other jetties you could have gotten onto a landline from, torea bay has nothing near it... murphies law..
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 12:48 pm

Hallu wrote:You should mention the name of the company, what's wrong with that ? It's actually more dangerous to not mention it, they clearly don't have an efficient checking system... When your accommodation is crap, you put a bad review on booking/tripadvisor, there's nothing wrong with that. They're not gonna sue you or anything, you're in your right.


Yeh fair call. It's not like I'd be using them again.....

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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 1:00 pm

with a name like that i wonder if they just shuttle people as a sideline,
cougar lines worked like a well oiled machine picking up and dropping off people and a variety of different jetties public and private all prebooked.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 1:20 pm

Nah they looked pretty well set-up, same as cougar line. They have a few pretty decent, large looking boats.
The boat out the day before had a fair few people on it and there luggage. Even with all the planning all it takes apparently is one person to drop a ticket......
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby Rob A » Wed 17 Apr, 2013 5:24 pm

Out of interest, was the p/u something you organised in Kiwi or Aus and confirmed with the company just prior to commencing the track?
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 7:43 am

Rob A wrote:Out of interest, was the p/u something you organised in Kiwi or Aus and confirmed with the company just prior to commencing the track?


Yes orgainised via a few email's and they issued me the ticket from there office in Picton the day before and we had a discussion on pick-up times etc, Oh and they dropped me out there the day before........
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 9:18 am

cougar laid on two ferrys the morning we departed for the track, one was the stock standard regular ferry that took people to ships cove at the end of the track where most walkers are hading and another one which was dedicated to dropping people off and picking people up at various other jetties along the length of the track.,
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby roysta » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:13 pm

It's very easy to trash reputations with this stuff, given the social media review system these days.
I quietly pressed for refund in my case, but I accepted it as a "one off" stuff up.
I'd used this well known Queenstown campany before, I've used them since and will use them again.
I'm just more careful now in spelling out what's what.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:22 pm

maybe, but there are digital systems out there to ensure you don't loose bookings once they are made
i've booked accomodation and then double check and find theres no booking or they havent booked what i asked for,
theres various places i've booked again and again, you go into their digital system and i never have to double check, i turn up and every time i'm booked,
they took forest out there, they must know how fallable their system can be, someone should have double checked if and when he was booked to come back. maybe he was very unlucky, but there needs to be some more effective system when you're dropping people in the wops... as he said his family were arguing with them that they had forgotten him, they wouldnt even listen to start with, now thats very poor service, customer is always right.... or was it a case of it was going to inconvenience them too much to have to take the boat out when they didnt think to.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby Hallu » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:36 pm

Yeah you wouldn't want to trash the reputation of the poor little company who left a hiker almost freeze to death, that would be so mean...
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby roysta » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:39 pm

Yes, I agree, but there's a difference between a plainly average or shonky operator and a well-known company that has a one-off problem.
I had used them three times previously without issue and I've used them since.
They had a change of ownership around the time my problem occurred, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:43 pm

fair enough roysta. at least they didnt deny they'd forgotten about you
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby roysta » Thu 18 Apr, 2013 6:45 pm

wayno wrote:fair enough roysta. at least they didnt deny they'd forgotten about you


exactly !!!
actually the staff were great and soooo apologetic, it was the boss I played hardball with
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Fri 19 Apr, 2013 10:09 am

roysta wrote:Yes, I agree, but there's a difference between a plainly average or shonky operator and a well-known company that has a one-off problem.


For all I know this is the only time it's happend, or it could be often. All I know is it happend to me.

I guess the benifit you had and would be the same for most walks is that you can just start walking if they are late or you think they have forgotten/stuffed up. At least you should run into them on the road somewhere if they are late I guess.
Downside to my situation was that I didn't know if the boat was late or not comming. I couldn't walk in the same direction they were travelling as it was across Queen Charlotte Sound LOL. My only out was to walk away from the Jetty to Portage. No huge thing to do and I was all but ready to do it. Downside would have been if the boat was just late I would have never know as once you leave the jetty on the track to Portage your not going to cross paths with a boat.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Apr, 2013 10:17 am

i think you should have started pack floating towards picton, get in some skills practice.. water must be all of about oh 12 degrees..... :D
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Fri 09 Aug, 2013 5:09 am

will be my turn at xmas.. i'm thinking i might need a sleeping bag, shelter and cooking gear while i'm waiting for the water taxi....
havnet had any probs with cougar lines who i've used, they've dutifully picked me or my bags up on time on two seperate trips to the queen charlotte walkway... havent done the standard walk from start to end. so they've handled non standard trips... only thing was they didnt sell the track passes and they didnt tell us about buying them. so had to scramble to get one before everyone closed up shop the day before we left...
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby forest » Fri 09 Aug, 2013 10:56 am

You will be fine Wayno, I wouldn't think my issue would occur in the middle of peak season.
When it happened to me it was at the tail end of the season and track numbers were low.
They commented to me that in peak season everyone is "game on" and they guess they just switched off a little because everything had started to wind down.
Enjoy the walk.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Sat 10 Aug, 2013 6:16 am

yeah sounds about right... i"m taking a lazy option, missing out walking around half of endeavour inlet, didnt get much of a view on it and the bush is just regrowth, and missing the long hill section between camp bay and torea.. means carrying a lot of water in summer and can be hot with the trees sheltering the wind but little shelter from the sun, felt like an easier trip.
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Sat 10 Aug, 2013 6:41 am

looking east the trail runs down this neck of land, ship cove is up toward the top left behind the last hill..
the portage is visible in the bay middle picture.

http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/trck ... arlborough
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Re: Queen Charlotte Track Transfer's - Left Stranded !!

Postby wayno » Thu 26 Dec, 2013 3:25 am

my turn tomorrow to see if i get left stranded by the boat 8)
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