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4 Day Hollyford Wilderness Experience

About 43 kms hiking over 3 days

Days
3

Pricing From
$3595

Difficulty

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Overview

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 helicopter 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."

Accommodation

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.

Testimonials

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

Tour Grading: B

  • The days are long but not difficult.
  • Day 2 can be challenging as you are required to carry your own pack for 19.5km. Follow our packing advice and your bag should weigh less than 7kg, given all food and bedding is provided.
  • 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.

What to Bring: Suggested Packing List:

Walking Gear

  • Base layer – wool or polypropylene thermal long sleeve and long leg
  • First layer – wool or micro fleece long sleeve
  • Mid layer – warm jersey or jacket (wool or fleece, preferably windproof)
  • Outer layer – 100% waterproof rain jacket with hood (we can provide if needed)
  • Trouser – quick dry hiking trousers (zip offs give a good shorts option)
  • Boots – hiking boots (preferably with ankle support and well ‘broken-in’!)
  • Socks – wool or thermal blend
  • Hat – wool / fleece for cold & peaked / brimmed for when hot
  • Gloves – wool or fleece
  • Waterproof trousers and gaiters (optional)
  • Walking poles (we can provide these if you need them)

Evening Gear

  • First layer – shirt or t-shirt
  • Mid layer – jersey or sweater
  • Trouser – lightweight trousers or track pants
  • Night wear – whatever you like to sleep in
  • Underwear / Socks
  • Additional footwear – light shoes, sandals or jandals for the lodges

Accessories

  • Water bottle – 750ml bottles are recommended as easier to fill up from streams
  • Sunscreen – SPF 30+
  • Insect repellent (we also recommend anti-histamines if you react badly to bites)
  • Blister pack – ‘Second Skin’ or other blister protection
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, medications
  • Camera – with memory card /spare film and charger / batteries
  • Money – debit or credit card for beer, wine and souvenirs

Other

Travel insurance - we strongly recommend all guests have this.

Start of the Hollyford Track

Pyke River, the Darran Mountains and Mount Madeline Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Guide discussing botanical information Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hiking on Little Homer Saddle Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Pyke Lodge at night

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Lodge hosts serving pre-dinner platter Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Mt Madeline reflected on Lake Alabaster

Native Lowland Temperate Rainforest Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Martins Bay Lodge Hollyford Track

Martins Bay Lodge

Martins Bay Lodge Hollyford Track

Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Hollyford Walking Track

Long Reef, Martins Bay Hollyford Track

Hollyford Track Guided Walk Fiordland National Park New Zealand

Hollyford Track Guided Walk Fiordland National Park New Zealand

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel to Te Anau
Guests embarking on the Hollyford Wilderness Experience can choose to begin their journey with us in either Queenstown or Te Anau.

Those joining us in Queenstown will meet our private coach in either of the following locations:

2:30pm (onwards) - Central Queenstown Hotels

3:00pm - The Station Building, Duke Street, Queenstown

3:30pm - Queenstown Airport

The journey will take approximately 2 hours. You will be taken straight to your accommodation at the Distinction Hotel & Villas, located at 41 Town Centre, Te Anau.

Alternatively, you can choose to drive your own vehicle to Te Anau, check into the Distinction Hotel & Villas and meet your guides at the pre-departure briefing at 6:30pm.

Pre-departure briefing
Whilst we will send you all the information you need to prepare for your journey with us, we also conduct a pre-departure briefing, which you are required to attend.

Venue: Hollyford Valley Walks Office (10/23 Town Centre, Te Anau)

Time: 6:30pm

Pre-departure briefings provide an opportunity to meet the other guests in your group. We will cover the details you will need to know for your departure the following morning such as what to bring, what’s provided, and an itinerary breakdown. This is also the opportunity to ask any questions and to collect and make use of our backpacks and rain jackets if required.

Dine and stay at Distinction Hotel & Villas
Included in your package is accommodation for the night at the Distinction Hotel & Villas in Te Anau with dinner after the briefing and breakfast before meeting the coach on Day Two.

Day 2Te Anau to Pyke LodgeWalking Distance: Approx 19.55 kms (12 miles)

Travel to the Hollyford Valley
On the morning of departure from Te Anau, you will be able to enjoy breakfast at the Distinction Hotel & Villas at 7:00am.

At 8:00am we will depart Te Anau and make our way by private coach to the majestic Hollyford Valley, where we will officially begin our walk.

Begin your journey through native beech forest
Once at the start of the track we put on our packs and start our 19.5km journey to Pyke lodge.

You will follow the swift, clear waters of the Hollyford River, beneath the gaze of the mighty Southern Alps, including Fiordland National Park’s two highest peaks of Mt Tutoko (2746m) and Mt Madeline (2537m).

Retrace the footsteps of original Māori and early pioneer explorers as the track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside impressive, tumbling waterfalls.

Arrive at Pyke Lodge
At the end of the first day of walking you’ll be welcomed at Pyke Lodge by your friendly lodge hosts.

Here you’ll enjoy a hot shower, impressive 3 course cuisine and the opportunity to relax with a post dinner drink while reflecting on a great first day of your guided walk experience.

Day 3Pyke Lodge to Martins BayWalking Distance: Up to 15 kms (9 miles)

Wander to Lake Alabaster
As the morning sun shines over the mountains enjoy a delicious breakfast before a short walk to the glistening Lake Alabaster and the optional crossing of one of Fiordland’s longest swing bridges.

Today we cover 15km by foot. Your main pack will be transported to Martins Bay Lodge and we will provide you with a light day pack for your daily essentials.

Explore Lake McKerrow by jet boat
After a short walk to the jetty, you'll board our jet boat for the next part of your adventure.

These powerful and safe machines provide an exciting scenic ride along the Hollyford River and down to Lake McKerrow, where the glassy waters whisk past and the mountains rise dramatically above.

Make a short stop in at the ill-fated Jamestown to hear the tales and tragedies of this early settlement.

Marvel in the podacarp forest
Say farewell to your jetboat driver as you make your way into the awe-inspiring podocarp forest. You’ll pass ancient forests with thousand year old giants such as native Rimu, Totara and Kahikatea.

Stop for lunch as the towering lowland forest transforms into a tenacious coastal garden.

Say hello to some furry friends
As you reach the thunderous surf on the rugged West Coast you'll arrive at a bay of boulders, where the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin is a seasonal visitor.

Continue on to Long Reef plays host to a rookery of native New Zealand fur seals and we spend some time watching them play in the surf, and laze on the rocks.

Relax at Martins Bay Lodge
In the late afternoon we head back along the track to our Martins Bay Lodge where a warm welcome awaits you.

Take off your boots and relax with a glass of wine before dinner is served. Watch the sun set over the Hollyford River and toast the memories of a wonderful day.

Day 4Martins Bay to MilfordWalking Distance: Up to 8.5 kms (5 miles)

Explore Martins Bay Spit
After another hearty breakfast you’ll be ready for your final 5km walk, exploring Martins Bay Spit, a famous landmark separating the powerful Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley.

Here you will view historical sites, where chief Tutoko and his people guarded entry into the Hollyford Valley, 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 remote area. You will have the opportunity to explore the sand dunes, and wander along the isolated beach at your own pace, with the Tasman Sea as your companion.

Embark on your scenic flight
Returning to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch, your lodge hosts bid you farewell as you board the helicopter for a scenic flight along the rugged coastline and into the dramatic Milford Sound, where you'll marvel at the grandeur of vertical granite walls rising from the sea.

Arrive in Milford Sound
Once in Milford you’ll be met by our private coach and travel along the impressive Milford Road, up through the famous Homer Tunnel, which was cut through a divide of sheer granite rock. The drive time from Milford Sound to Te Anau is approximately 1 hour 30mins (118km).

Bid farewell to new friends
In Te Anau we will stop at the Black Dog Bar to say farewell and collect any luggage stored at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel. Guests can disembark in Te Anau and make their own way from there, or they can stay on board, travelling through to Queenstown.

Your coach driver can drop you off at Queenstown Airport, if required, or at your hotel accommodation in central Queenstown.

Cost per Person

Ensuite Room (twin or queen)

February-March 2024

  • Adult (15yrs +): NZ$3,795
  • Child (10-14 yrs): NZ$3,300*
  • Single room supplement NZ$1,570

April 2024

  • Adult (15yrs +): NZ$3,595
  • Child (10-14 yrs): NZ$3,100*
  • Single room supplement NZ$1,570

October 2024 - January 2025

  • Adult (15yrs +): NZ$4,095
  • Child (10-14 yrs): NZ$3,395*
  • Single room supplement NZ$2,145

February-March 2025

  • Adult (15yrs +): NZ$4,295
  • Child (10-14 yrs): NZ$3,595*
  • Single room supplement NZ$2,145

April 2025

  • Adult (15yrs +): NZ$4,095
  • Child (10-14 yrs): NZ$3,395*
  • Single room supplement NZ$2,145

Deposit and Payment

  • A deposit of NZ$550 is required at the time of booking.
  • The final balance is due 90 days prior to departure.

Cancellation Terms:

  • Cancellations within 30 days of walk departure date: cancellation fee of 100% of the total trip cost
  • Cancellations between 30 - 89 days from walk departure date: cancellation fee is 50% of the total trip cost
  • Cancellations 90 days or more from walk departure date: cancellation fee is NZD$250 per person
  • Once the walk has commenced no refund applies in any circumstance

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel to Te Anau
Guests embarking on the Hollyford Wilderness Experience can choose to begin their journey with us in either Queenstown or Te Anau.

Those joining us in Queenstown will meet our private coach in either of the following locations:

2:30pm (onwards) - Central Queenstown Hotels

3:00pm - The Station Building, Duke Street, Queenstown

3:30pm - Queenstown Airport

The journey will take approximately 2 hours. You will be taken straight to your accommodation at the Distinction Hotel & Villas, located at 41 Town Centre, Te Anau.

Alternatively, you can choose to drive your own vehicle to Te Anau, check into the Distinction Hotel & Villas and meet your guides at the pre-departure briefing at 6:30pm.

Pre-departure briefing
Whilst we will send you all the information you need to prepare for your journey with us, we also conduct a pre-departure briefing, which you are required to attend.

Venue: Hollyford Valley Walks Office (10/23 Town Centre, Te Anau)

Time: 6:30pm

Pre-departure briefings provide an opportunity to meet the other guests in your group. We will cover the details you will need to know for your departure the following morning such as what to bring, what’s provided, and an itinerary breakdown. This is also the opportunity to ask any questions and to collect and make use of our backpacks and rain jackets if required.

Dine and stay at Distinction Hotel & Villas
Included in your package is accommodation for the night at the Distinction Hotel & Villas in Te Anau with dinner after the briefing and breakfast before meeting the coach on Day Two.

Day 2Te Anau to Pyke LodgeWalking Distance: Approx 19.55 kms (12 miles)

Travel to the Hollyford Valley
On the morning of departure from Te Anau, you will be able to enjoy breakfast at the Distinction Hotel & Villas at 7:00am.

At 8:00am we will depart Te Anau and make our way by private coach to the majestic Hollyford Valley, where we will officially begin our walk.

Begin your journey through native beech forest
Once at the start of the track we put on our packs and start our 19.5km journey to Pyke lodge.

You will follow the swift, clear waters of the Hollyford River, beneath the gaze of the mighty Southern Alps, including Fiordland National Park’s two highest peaks of Mt Tutoko (2746m) and Mt Madeline (2537m).

Retrace the footsteps of original Māori and early pioneer explorers as the track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside impressive, tumbling waterfalls.

Arrive at Pyke Lodge
At the end of the first day of walking you’ll be welcomed at Pyke Lodge by your friendly lodge hosts.

Here you’ll enjoy a hot shower, impressive 3 course cuisine and the opportunity to relax with a post dinner drink while reflecting on a great first day of your guided walk experience.

Day 3Pyke Lodge to Martins BayWalking Distance: Up to 15 kms (9 miles)

Wander to Lake Alabaster
As the morning sun shines over the mountains enjoy a delicious breakfast before a short walk to the glistening Lake Alabaster and the optional crossing of one of Fiordland’s longest swing bridges.

Today we cover 15km by foot. Your main pack will be transported to Martins Bay Lodge and we will provide you with a light day pack for your daily essentials.

Explore Lake McKerrow by jet boat
After a short walk to the jetty, you'll board our jet boat for the next part of your adventure.

These powerful and safe machines provide an exciting scenic ride along the Hollyford River and down to Lake McKerrow, where the glassy waters whisk past and the mountains rise dramatically above.

Make a short stop in at the ill-fated Jamestown to hear the tales and tragedies of this early settlement.

Marvel in the podacarp forest
Say farewell to your jetboat driver as you make your way into the awe-inspiring podocarp forest. You’ll pass ancient forests with thousand year old giants such as native Rimu, Totara and Kahikatea.

Stop for lunch as the towering lowland forest transforms into a tenacious coastal garden.

Say hello to some furry friends
As you reach the thunderous surf on the rugged West Coast you'll arrive at a bay of boulders, where the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin is a seasonal visitor.

Continue on to Long Reef plays host to a rookery of native New Zealand fur seals and we spend some time watching them play in the surf, and laze on the rocks.

Relax at Martins Bay Lodge
In the late afternoon we head back along the track to our Martins Bay Lodge where a warm welcome awaits you.

Take off your boots and relax with a glass of wine before dinner is served. Watch the sun set over the Hollyford River and toast the memories of a wonderful day.

Day 4Martins Bay to MilfordWalking Distance: Up to 8.5 kms (5 miles)

Explore Martins Bay Spit
After another hearty breakfast you’ll be ready for your final 5km walk, exploring Martins Bay Spit, a famous landmark separating the powerful Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley.

Here you will view historical sites, where chief Tutoko and his people guarded entry into the Hollyford Valley, 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 remote area. You will have the opportunity to explore the sand dunes, and wander along the isolated beach at your own pace, with the Tasman Sea as your companion.

Embark on your scenic flight
Returning to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch, your lodge hosts bid you farewell as you board the helicopter for a scenic flight along the rugged coastline and into the dramatic Milford Sound, where you'll marvel at the grandeur of vertical granite walls rising from the sea.

Arrive in Milford Sound
Once in Milford you’ll be met by our private coach and travel along the impressive Milford Road, up through the famous Homer Tunnel, which was cut through a divide of sheer granite rock. The drive time from Milford Sound to Te Anau is approximately 1 hour 30mins (118km).

Bid farewell to new friends
In Te Anau we will stop at the Black Dog Bar to say farewell and collect any luggage stored at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel. Guests can disembark in Te Anau and make their own way from there, or they can stay on board, travelling through to Queenstown.

Your coach driver can drop you off at Queenstown Airport, if required, or at your hotel accommodation in central Queenstown.

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