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4 Day Upper Wilkin Experience Guided Walk

Days
4

Pricing From
$2400

Difficulty

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Overview

Tour Grading: C

For the perfect introduction to hiking in remote areas of New Zealand's mountains, look no further than our Upper Wilkin Experience. Perfect for families or anyone who is looking for an achievable backcountry hiking experience in a stunning location.

This tour includes visits to numerous waterfalls, glaciers and other unique sights that could easily make you feel like you are following in a Hobbit's footsteps!

Our 4 day Upper Wilkin Experience hiking tour takes place in the very heart of the Mount Aspiring National Park.   Top Forks Hut forms the base for the trip and day walks from here range from easy to more challenging.

The glaciated cirque formed by the mountains in the area was named by Charles Douglas, one of the greatest explorers of the NZ South Island. To Douglas, names were of great importance and you will realise this as you gaze at the spectacular snow-capped peaks named for the Roman Gods - Castor, Pollux, Mercury, Vesta, Juno and Apollo surround you in this remote valley below the main range of the NZ Southern Alps.

Our skilled guide will always make safety a priority when exploring these remote and not regularly frequented areas. Our trekking operations also run a voluntary pest eradication program in this valley and you are welcome to learn more about the conservation work being undertaken.

More Information

Hiking times are kept to approximately 5 to 6 hours per day in order to ensure that the hiking is realistically achievable while allowing more than enough time for relaxing, swimming, taking photographs and enjoying side trips along the way. Overnight gear and all food is provided so all you need to carry is a light day pack

25-30 litre pack   5-8kg

Fitness

This hike is ideal for those people who would like to venture away from the well-known & heavily booked NZ hiking trail, but who is unsure about the kind of difficulty level they can manage.

Since we return every day to a base at the Top Forks Hut, you are able to push yourself as hard as you feel you can handle. The day trips that lead out all the way to Lake Castalia or Waterfall Flat are known to provide quite a challenge but, if you prefer a more relaxing day, there are shorter hikes to enjoy.     Some people have gone so far as to make it up to the glaciers while others have preferred to  venture no further than a kilometre from the hut for a leisurely swim and day in the sun.

The final day is probably the hardest & takes you on a 7 hour mainly downhill hike back to Kerin Forks where you will meet a jetboat. The track travels along the Wilkin River with short ups and downs.

This hike is suited for moderately fit hikers and is a particular favourite with families.  Children over the age of 10 years usually complete the track with great enthusiasm.

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Upper Wilkin Valley Experience Mt Aspiring National Park

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Wanaka to Top Forks Hut

Trip Pre-check

4:30pm day before start of trip, you meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting and gear check.

At 8:30am, we will meet with a guide and transport before travelling for 45 minutes to the small village of Makarora. Once here, we all board a fixed wing aircraft and enjoy a flight into the very heart of the Mount Aspiring Park. When we land, we will take a leisurely 2 hour walk to the Top Forks Hut. Although this walk is not difficult, it is certainly scenic and exciting with several river crossings and your very first wilderness travel encounter. In the afternoon, we will start the exploration of this superb valley.   Returning to the hut, you can enjoy the views while your guide prepares your evening meal.  It’s not gourmet, but rather wholesome & hearty food suitable for such a remote hiking adventure.

Day 2Lakes Diana, Lucidus and Castalia

We take the day to visit and explore the three alpine lakes called Diana, Lucidus and Castalia. The trail takes us on a gradual climb and we weave through the native beech forest until we break through above the tree line. The trail that leads to Lake Castalia, the final lake, includes some of the most rugged terrain but it is also the most rewarding. The length of your day out can be anything from 1 hour to 6 hours depending on how far you would like to proceed.

Day 3Waterfall Flat and Snowy Bridge Gorge

The hike to Waterfall Flat takes you on a journey from dense forests to high alpine regions. It is an extremely rewarding climb. As you make your way up through the deep canyon known as Snowy ­Bridge Gorge, you will enjoy amazing views of waterfalls and glaciers. The trail is fairly challenging until you reach Waterfall Flat. With the magnificent tall peaks and rushing rivers around you, exploring this rarely visited New Zealand valley will definitely prove to be an unforgettable experience.6-7 hours return.

Day 4Top Forks Hut to Wanaka

We make our way down river to Kerin Forks where we are met by a jet boat. This hike along the north bank of the Wilkin River is a gentle downhill walk that will take approximately 6 – 7 hours.

The numerous side stream crossings do indeed make this track as challenging and exciting as it is scenic. Once you board the jet boat, it's time for an exhilarating 1 hour ride back to an awaiting vehicle before returning to Wanaka.

Cost per person

November 2019-April 2020

  • Guide Ratio 1:2 - NZ$3,200
  • Guide Ratio 1:3-5 - NZ$2,400

NZ$500 per person deposit on booking, balance 60 days before travel.

Please Note

  • If weather conditions are unsuitable for a fixed wing aircraft, a helicopter may be used. In this case there will be a surcharge for helicopter access.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Wanaka to Top Forks Hut

Trip Pre-check

4:30pm day before start of trip, you meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting and gear check.

At 8:30am, we will meet with a guide and transport before travelling for 45 minutes to the small village of Makarora. Once here, we all board a fixed wing aircraft and enjoy a flight into the very heart of the Mount Aspiring Park. When we land, we will take a leisurely 2 hour walk to the Top Forks Hut. Although this walk is not difficult, it is certainly scenic and exciting with several river crossings and your very first wilderness travel encounter. In the afternoon, we will start the exploration of this superb valley.   Returning to the hut, you can enjoy the views while your guide prepares your evening meal.  It’s not gourmet, but rather wholesome & hearty food suitable for such a remote hiking adventure.

Day 2Lakes Diana, Lucidus and Castalia

We take the day to visit and explore the three alpine lakes called Diana, Lucidus and Castalia. The trail takes us on a gradual climb and we weave through the native beech forest until we break through above the tree line. The trail that leads to Lake Castalia, the final lake, includes some of the most rugged terrain but it is also the most rewarding. The length of your day out can be anything from 1 hour to 6 hours depending on how far you would like to proceed.

Day 3Waterfall Flat and Snowy Bridge Gorge

The hike to Waterfall Flat takes you on a journey from dense forests to high alpine regions. It is an extremely rewarding climb. As you make your way up through the deep canyon known as Snowy ­Bridge Gorge, you will enjoy amazing views of waterfalls and glaciers. The trail is fairly challenging until you reach Waterfall Flat. With the magnificent tall peaks and rushing rivers around you, exploring this rarely visited New Zealand valley will definitely prove to be an unforgettable experience.6-7 hours return.

Day 4Top Forks Hut to Wanaka

We make our way down river to Kerin Forks where we are met by a jet boat. This hike along the north bank of the Wilkin River is a gentle downhill walk that will take approximately 6 – 7 hours.

The numerous side stream crossings do indeed make this track as challenging and exciting as it is scenic. Once you board the jet boat, it's time for an exhilarating 1 hour ride back to an awaiting vehicle before returning to Wanaka.

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