Hollyford Track Guided Walk – From £995.00
3 Days | Grade: Moderate | 37km / 22 miles
Departures November – April
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 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 approximately 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 Park’s two highest peaks of Mt Tūtoko (2746m) and Mt Madeline (2537m) – you’ll re-trace the 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 the 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 on your guided walk experience.
After a short walk, you’ll board a 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 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 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.
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 aircraft 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, 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, stopping at the source of the Hollyford Valley and River before embarking on your journey back to Te Anau and Queenstown.