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Hollyford track and Milford Sound New Zealand
great walks in the Fiordland wilderness
  • Overview
  • Day 1 - 3
  • Accommodation & Meals
  • Prices & Enquiry

Guided Walks on the Hollyford Track

Located south of Queenstown in the spectacular Fiordland National Park, the dramatic Hollyford Track guided wilderness experience is one of New Zealandís greatest nature walks.

Explore undisturbed and inspiring scenery that has remained largely untouched for thousands of years, from the snow capped mountains of the majestic Southern Alps, ancient native rainforest, pristine rivers and lakes to the remote sand dunes, reef and surf of the rugged West Coast. Your expert guide will bring to life the diversity of landscapes, vegetation and wildlife within this beautiful valley, as well as the captivating stories of the original Maori and early pioneers. The experiences are just as diverse and include hiking through 'World Heritage Area' wilderness, native wildlife encounters, wilderness jet-boating, exploring historical sites, and a scenic flight to Milford Sound.

On this 3 day / 2 night all inclusive guided nature walk experience you'll enjoy cuisine prepared and served by our friendly lodge hosts while relaxing in our well appointed and comfortable private lodges. A maximum number of 16 people in your group provides for a personal experience, and with your guide sharing their intimate knowledge of the area with you, itís a wonderful way to explore the very essence of New Zealandís wilderness.

If there is one experience that delivers the diversity and very essence of New Zealand wilderness - it is with out a doubt, a guided nature walk through the Hollyford Valley. Here youíll marvel at ever changing scenery from towering mountains to pounding coast and everything in between, explore an unspoilt wilderness with giants of an ancient forest and native wildlife, discover your sense of adventure and find inspiration around every corner. For a truly unique experience join us on the Hollyford Track guided nature walk adventure and 'Journey Into The Most Beautiful Valley In New Zealand'.

We employ a small team of local wilderness guides who are dedicated to New Zealand's environment, culture, history and heritage. Your expert guides are passionate about the Fiordland area and in particular the Hollyford Valley, they are extremely knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, geology and geography as well as the rich Maori and pioneering history of this spectacular part of New Zealand.

Your guides are natural leaders and story tellers, and with 2 guides to a maximum group size of 16, often less, they are able to deliver an unrivalled level of individualised interpretation and guiding. Hollyford Track is a personalised experience and with your guide sharing their intimate knowledge of the area with you, it's a wonderful way to explore the very essence of New Zealand's wilderness.

Photo Gallery

Day one:

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. We highly recommend all our guests to start their Hollyford Journey in Te Anau, for a more relaxing start to the trip. By starting in Queenstown you will be picked up at approx, 6:30am, in comparison, by starting in Te Anau you will simply meet the group for morning tea at 9am!

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 dayís adventure youíll be welcomed at Pyke Lodge by your friendly lodge hosts. Here youíll 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 on your guided nature walk experience.

17kmís walking from the start of the track to Pyke River Lodge with 5 - 7 hours of walking. You will also be travelling by our shuttle transport from Queenstown or Te Anau along beautiful lakes and glacial carved valleys to the start of Hollyford Track.

Day two:

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 Fiordlandís 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 youíll 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 1000 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 youíll marvel at their nimble skills in the crashing surf and relax as they laze on the rocks.

Martinís Bay Lodge completes a special second day and glasses are raised to the traditional ĎHollyford Toastí as a memorable way to finish your day.

12kmís between Pyke River Lodge and Martins Bay Lodge with 4 - 5 hours of walking. You will also cover approximately 25kmís by jet boat down the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow.

Day three:

After another hearty breakfast youíll explore Martinís 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 historical sites of Maori occupation of the area 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 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 helicopter for a scenic flight along the rugged coast and into the truly spectacular and dramatic Milford Sound where you'll marvel at the grandeur of vertical granite walls rising from the sea.

Once in Milford youíll 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.

8kmís walking along Martins Bay Spit taking 3 - 4 hours. You will also take a spectacular flight along the coast and into the breath-taking Milford Sound before boarding our shuttle transport to return to Te Anau or Queenstown.

Accommodation


At the end of an invigorating day of exploration, you'll arrive at your warm and dry lodge, and to a hearty welcome and fine cuisine prepared by your friendly and professional lodge hosts. Whilst Hollyford Track is in the isolated and rugged wilderness of Fiordland, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy all the comforts of home. Your lodges have been purpose designed and built to provide you with a level of comfort and indulgence in the last place you would expect it.

Your private lodges are exclusively for the use of you, our guided walk guests, and are very well appointed with dining and lounge areas, open fires, drying rooms, separate flush toilet and shower facilities with unlimited hot water, soap, shampoo, towels and hair dryers provided.

Lodge bedrooms are twin share rooms with linen, duvets and hot water bottles provided. Should you be travelling alone, every effort will be made to accommodate you privately. However, this may not be possible when your group is at maximum or near maximum capacity of 16 people.

Lodges run on battery bank powered electricity, and we do conserve energy by turning off some electrical facilities overnight. However, lighting is available throughout the night.

The evening of Day One is spent at the rustic Pyke River Lodge nestled beneath the converging mountain ranges and amongst native forest at the confluence of the Hollyford and Pyke Rivers. Pyke River Lodge is often graced with spectacular views of the sun setting and rising on the majestic Mt Madeline and Darran Range.

The evening of Day Two is spent at Martins Bay Lodge, a new lodge on the lowland flats close to mouth of the Hollyford River. Cheeky Kea, a large alpine parrot, often play in the Cabbage Trees outside Martins Bay Lodge at dusk and the sound of the surf on nearby Martins Bay Spit is a soothing evening soundtrack.

Both lodges provide a home away from home, their level of appointment and comfort belies the splendid isolation of this remote wilderness area. Your lodges are a great place to unwind at the end of each day, enjoy our hospitality, share stories with new friends, to relax and read a book, or simply to watch the beauty of the night descending and reflect upon your day.

Your friendly team of experienced lodge hosts are there to ensure your time in the lodges is as memorable as your time on the track. Your lodge hosts all have extensive backgrounds in the hospitality industry and are experienced chefs and entertainers, they will welcome you into your comfortable lodges as if they were welcoming you into their own homes

With your well appointed lodges, fine cuisine and sociable attentive hosts you'll be more than comfortable in your 'home away from home' Ė Pyke River and Martins Bay Lodges.

Meals


All meals on Hollyford Track are provided, from 3 course evening cuisine and cooked and/or continental breakfasts to wilderness lunches and a seemingly endless supply of treats from your guides along the way. Your lodges have full commercial kitchen facilities and your lodge hosts are experienced chefs and hosts, they are there to ensure your time in the lodges is as memorable as your time on the track.

From years of experience hosting you, our guests, we know you will have worked up an appetite after an invigorating dayís walk and therefore plentiful refreshments and food are provided throughout your Hollyford Track experience. Your lodges are fully licensed so you can also enjoy a drink from the selection of New Zealand beverages, be it a refreshing beer at the end of the days walking, a fine Central Otago Pinot Noir over dinner or a celebratory glass of bubbles to toast your day.

Upon arrival at the lodges youíll enjoy a snack and your preference of hot or cold drink. An impressive antipasto platter including breads, crackers, New Zealand cheeseís, cold meats, sushi and garlic prawns, just to name a few, is a prelude to the mouth watering mains. Mains may consist of cuisine such as Fiordland venison or Stewart Island Salmon and will be accompanied by seasonal fresh produce such oven roasted vegetables, leafy greens to saffron infused rice.

And of course no Kiwi meal would be complete without dessert; we guarantee our sweet dishes especially will have you asking the lodge hosts for the recipe.

Breakfasts are tasty, hearty and well balanced to give you just the right fuel for the day ahead. A hot cuppa or strong brew will kick start your day and breakfast offers a selection of cereal and fruit through to a full cooked breakfast of eggs benedict or bacon and eggs (any way!) on toast.

Lunch of sandwiches, rolls, biscuits, cake and fruit is en-route and enjoyed outdoors amidst a spectacular wilderness setting. If weather does not allow, lunch is enjoyed indoors in your comfortable lunch huts. Hot drinks will also be provided for you at the lunch stops. And, your ever attentive guides are never far off with a high energy snack to keep you going throughout the day.

We can also cater for individual dietary requirements. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requests or needs and we will do our very best to cater specifically for you.

Your lodge hosts take great pride and delight in preparing superb cuisine and your meals are a real treat of the Hollyford Track experience.

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This activity is also available as part of on of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

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