Pre Departure Day One
Your tour begins with a coach transfer from Queenstown to Te Anau, for one night's accommodation, dinner and breakfast at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel in Te Anau. This is a chance for you to meet your guide and fellow walkers. Your guide will "walk" you through the next three unforgettable days, on the Hollyford Track. Backpacks will be provided at this briefing to those who require them. The pre departure briefing takes place in Te Anau.
Dramatic Wilderness Valley - Wild Rivers & Waterfalls
This morning depart for the Hollyford Valley and travel through the majestic Eglington Valley to the start of the Track in the Hollyford Valley visiting Gunn's Camp museum on the way.
Then re-trace the footsteps of early explorers along the Hollyford River to Pyke River Lodge as you step into a dramatic wilderness valley and enter a lost world that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The scenery here is geologically spectacular and ever-changing. Snow-capped mountains tower over lush rainforests, rivers, glaciers and waterfalls.
Walking Distance 19.5 km (12 mi)
Meals Provided: Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation Hollyford Track - Pyke River Lodge - 1 night
Giant Ancient Forests - Seals & Penguins
Begin your day with a short walk to beautiful Lake Alabaster and learn of the history and geology of the area whilst in the midst of stunning surroundings. Cross Fiordland's longest swing bridge and then enjoy a captivating jet boat journey down the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow to the historic site of Jamestown, the intended capital of the South Island in the late 19th century. Hear the harrowing tales of the life and death of these early settlers who hoped to find fortune in the doomed town.
Then for those that love true wilderness enjoy a walk through ancient forest giants such as native Rimu, Totara, and Kahikatea trees wrapped in massive Rata vines, some up to 1000 years old. Soon, the towering lowland podocarp forest (New Zealand native pines) transforms into a tenacious coastal garden - the contrast is magical!
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.
Walking Distance: 15 km (9 mi)
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation Hollyford Track - Martins Bay Lodge - 1 night
Coastal Hike & Scenic Flight Over Milford Sound
After another hearty breakfast travel by jet boat to the beach and explore the seven kilometre (4.3 mi) to Martins Bay beach, sand dunes and lagoon. 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 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.
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 (arrive 4.30pm) and Queenstown (arrive 6.30pm)
Walking Distance: 5km (3 mi)
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch
Expect an average of 4 to 5 hrs physical activity per day. On day 1 and 2 carry a small backpack of 4-5kgs (9-11 lb) The tracks are of a high quality and the maximum altitude is up to 200m (660 feet) only on day 1. No hiking experience is necessary but a reasonable standard of fitness required.
Times and Pick-Up Locations:
- Station Building Queenstown 3:30pm
- Queenstown Airport 4:00pm
- Return transport to Queenstown & Te Anau (Queenstown transport not available if choosing to overnight in Milford or Te Anau following the trip)
- Track accommodation in well-appointed private lodges.
- Specialist experienced guides
- All meals on the track
- Maximum 16 Walkers.
- Wilderness jet boat Hollyford River.
- Scenic helicopter flight to Milford Sound.
- Use of back packs, rain jackets and poles.