Hollyford Track Guided Walk - 3 Day
Queenstown - Queenstown or Te Anau - Te Anau:
The Hollyford Track New Zealand 3 Day Wilderness Journey is an all inclusive spectacular walk from the mountains to the sea that is suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. Unlike any other walk, the scenery is geologically spectacular and ever changing - snow capped mountains, glaciers, rainforests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, reefs, sand dunes and surf. The experiences are diverse- hiking, wildlife interaction, historical tales, jet boating, and a magnificent scenic flight to Milford Sound.
Step back in time and experience spectacular geology, intriguing ecology and a fascinating history of human endeavour.
The first human arrives, Maori, and a coastal village evolves. The tribe gathers abundant seafood and builds canoes from the giant trees of the forests.
Explorer James Cook visits and is overawed by this land of mountains and wild coastline. Then come the sealers and the whalers and the gold hunters. The settlers arrive who start to build a small town and attempt to clear the lowland forests for farming.
Sound like a very concise history of New Zealand? It is, and it all occurred in one Fiordland valley, the Hollyford. So deep is the history of the Hollyford Valley that even its sheer thousand metre high walls stand dwarfed in comparison.
World Heritage Area
The Hollyford Valley, internationally recognised as a place of outstanding natural values is situated within Fiordland National Park which has been accorded World Heritage status.
Conservation Management Statement: "The operators of The Hollyford Track are committed to the prudent management and sustained preservation of the conservation estate in which it exists.
The company appreciates and honours the opportunity it has to operate within Fiordland National Park and Te Wahipounamu, a unique environment that deserves respect and care.
Despite this protected area being increasingly sought for its wilderness quality, The Hollyford Track management demands of itself and all its guests the preservation of its beauty for all future generations."
At the end of an invigorating day of exploration, you'll arrive at a warm and dry lodge, a hearty welcome and fine cuisine. The evening of Day One is spent at Pyke River Lodge, at the confluence of Hollyford and Pyke Rivers. Night two is spent at Martins Bay Lodge, close to mouth of the Hollyford River.
The lodges are a great place to unwind watch the beauty of the evening night descending and reflect on your day. Our well-appointed lodges have unlimited hot water, separate toilet and shower facilities. Towels, duvets and linen are all provided.
The lodge bedrooms are twin share rooms (double occupancy), and should you be travelling alone, every effort will be made to accommodate you privately. However, when our group is at maximum capacity (16) this may not be possible.
The lodges run on generator power, and we do conserve energy by turning out lights at 11pm. If you wish to read later, please pack a torch.
The experience I had on your Hollyford Track tour is something that I will remember for many years to come. It wasn't simply the scenery and the exercise in such a remote region that was enjoyable, but I was inspired by the many stories that our guides told of the harsh challenges faced by the early pioneers of the area, it created an atmosphere of adventure throughout the 3 days. The meals provided for me at Pyke and Martins Bay Lodges were excellent, in fact, the meal at Pyke Lodge was better than many I have had in restaurants here in the UK. I will be returning to New Zealand next year and will be booking a place on another one of your Hollyford Track tours as the experience is well worth repeating. - P. Stunn, United Kingdom
Having travelled to many places in the world, New Zealand is now top on our list as the most beautiful place we have been and the Hollyford Track was probably our favourite on the trip. The scenery was incredible, over the course of the three days we went from one jaw dropping view to the next. To us, this tour captures the ‘heart' of what the South Island is all about. - P. & M. Spiewak, United States of America
I would like extend my appreciation to everyone concerned for making this one of the best holidays I have ever had. I was impressed by the professionalism and friendliness of all involved. Wonderfully informative and engaging guides, the hospitality, food and amenities at all the lodges were first class and the scenery exceeded my wildest expectations. - L. Wright, Australia
- The days are long but not difficult.
- We have guests from the ages of 10 to 84 doing the walk and as long as you are an actively fit person you will manage the walk.
- Remember you only carry your pack on the first day's walk in and the last day's walk out if your are doing the walk out tour, the rest of the time it is taken by boat / plane.
Highlights & Inclusions
Hollyford Track Guided Walk Itinerary
Pre-Departure Briefing: Held at 5:30 pm the day before your departure date - please check-in at 5:25 pm
Day One: Waterfalls, Pyke River Lodge, Glow Worms
- Walking Distance: Approx 17 kms (11 miles).
Check out of your Queenstown Accommodation or Te Anau Accommodation. Travel in comfort from Queenstown and Te Anau through some of New Zealand's most divine scenery of beautiful lakes and glacial valleys dwarfed by majestic mountains to the start of the track in the Hollyford Valley.
Shadowing the swift clear waters of the Hollyford River and beneath the gaze of the mighty Southern Alps, including Fiordland National Parks two highest peaks of Mt Tūtoko (2746m) and Mt Madeline (2537m), you'll re-trace footsteps of original Maori and early pioneer explorers, as the track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside impressive tumbling waterfalls. As ample food and comfortable bedding are all provided by your guides and at our private lodges, you are relieved of the burden of carrying a weighty pack and are free to discover a fascinating world through the expert interpretation of your guide.
At the end of your first day's adventure you'll be welcomed at Pyke Lodge by your friendly lodge hosts. Here you'll enjoy hot showers, impressive 3 course cuisine and the opportunity to relax with a post dinner drink and savour the majesty of Mt Madeline while reflecting on a great first day.
Day Two: Lakes, Jet Boating, 1000 Year Old Trees and Wildlife Experience
- Walking Distance: Approx 12 kms (7 miles).
As the morning light drapes the background mountains, a tasty cooked or continental breakfast puts everyone on track before being rewarded with a mystical forest, reflections like a mirror on Lake Alabaster and the satisfaction of an optional crossing of Fiordland's longest swing bridge.
After a short walk you'll board our jet boat for the next part of your adventure. Jet boats were invented in New Zealand for the shallow rivers of the South Island and these powerful and safe boats provide for a captivating scenic ride along the Hollyford River and down Lake McKerrow with glassy water whisking past and mountains rising dramatically above. You may even encounter a family of Bottlenose Dolphins who are regular visitors to the lower river and lake. Before the ride is over even your professional jet boat driver has a story to share.
Human history in the Hollyford Valley is as incredible as the scenery and you'll stop to discover the tragedies and triumphs of ill-fated Jamestown before walking through ancient forest giants such as native Rimu, Totara and Kahikatea, some believed to be up to 1500 years old. Soon the towering lowland podocarp forest transforms into a tenacious coastal garden. Thunderous surf on the rugged West Coast is a prelude to a bay of boulders where the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin is a seasonal visitor. A little farther on, Long Reef plays host to a colony of native New Zealand Fur Seals where you'll marvel at their nimble skills in the crashing surf and relax as they laze on the rocks.
Martin's Bay Lodge completes a special second day and glasses are raised to the traditional ‘Hollyford Toast' as a memorable way to finish your day.
Day Three: Martins Bay Beach and Coastline /Scenic Flight to Milford Sound
- Walking Distance: Approx 8 kms (5 miles).
After another hearty breakfast you'll explore Martin's Bay Spit, a famous landmark separating the powerful Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley, and a coastal landscape that is a world away from the previous days.
Here you will view an historical site of a once significant Maori settlement where a great chief and his people guarded entry into the Hollyford Valley from the coast, controlling access into and out of highly valued pounamu (greenstone / jade) gathering areas. Your guide will also highlight the plant and wildlife of this unique environment helping you to discover the diversity of this truly remote area. You will also have the opportunity to explore in your own time the isolated beach and sand dunes or to just wander at your own pace with the Tasman Sea as your companion and reflect upon this intrepid journey.
Returning to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch, your lodge hosts bid you farewell as you board your aircraft for an amazing scenic helicopter flight along the rugged coast and into the truly spectacular and dramatic Milford Sound where you'll fly the length of Milford Sound and marvel at the grandeur of vertical granite walls rising from the sea.
Once in Milford you'll be met by your return shuttle host and travel the impressive Milford Road up through the famous Homer Tunnel cutting through a divide of sheer granite rock, and stopping at the source of the Hollyford Valley and River before embarking on your journey back to Te Anau and Queenstown.