Two Strikingly Different – Comfortable Hikes Itinerary

 

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1

Queenstown - Hollyford Track Pre Departure Briefing

The only thing you have sheduled for today is a Hollyford Track pre departure briefing that begins at 6 pm on the night before your walk begins. 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.

Recommended excursions around Queenstown:

Routeburn Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise   Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail


Accommodation Queenstown - 1 night

Sitting on the crystal-clear shores of Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Gardens is centrally located - only a five-minute walk to town on level ground - home to prime restaurants and boutique shopping. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with views from private balconies over manicured landscapes, with the property being adjacent to the beautiful Queenstown Gardens.

Novotel Queenstown

2

Dramatic Wilderness Valley - Wild Rivers & Waterfalls

DAY 1) The Hollyford Track - Walking Distance 17 km (12 mi)

Depart Queenstown by 7am, travel along side the beautiful Lake Wakatipu and on to Te Anau. Those starting in Te Anau join the trip at 9 am. After a brief stop, 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. 

Meals Provided: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Hollyford Track - Pyke River Lodge - 1 night

Accommodation:
In the native forest beneath converging mountain rangers, and amongst native forest at the confluence of the Hollyford and Pyke Rivers you will find Pyke River Lodge. Have a hot shower while your Kiwi hosts prepare a gourmet dinner before retiring for a comfortable nights sleep. Here you will be able to be treated with a spectacular sunrise and sunset views of Mt. Madeline and the Darren Range. Pyke River lodge accommodate 16  hikers, in two-persons rooms, with separate shared bath facilities.   
Pyke River Lodge

3

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.

Todays Walk: 12 km (7 mi)

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Hollyford Track - Martins Bay Lodge - 1 night

Accommodation:
Our accommodation tonight is in Martin's Bay lodge, with hosts to look after your every need. Set amidst spectacular scenery, this well appointed private lodge at Martins Bay has everything required for a comfortable stay. This is a fully serviced lodge, with hot showers, a drying room, great food and friendly Kiwi hospitality from our hosts.  Absolute comfort in the most remote of settings to end a red letter day. It is the perfect place for you to relax without no mobile phone coverage, you just have to lean back and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Martins Bay Lodge

4

Coastal Hike & Scenic Flight Over Milford Sound

DAY 3) The Hollyford Track - Walking Distance 8km (5 mi)

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 and Queenstown.

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

Sitting on the crystal-clear shores of Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Gardens is centrally located - only a five-minute walk to town on level ground - home to prime restaurants and boutique shopping. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with views from private balconies over manicured landscapes, with the property being adjacent to the beautiful Queenstown Gardens.

Novotel Queenstown

5

Queenstown - a Day of Leisure

You could wake every day in Queenstown for a year and not repeat the same activity. Queenstown is the centre of adventure in New Zealand, there truly is something here for everyone. Every possible mode of transport and adventure is available to explore Central Otagos lakes (Wakatipu & Hawea), rivers (Shotover, Kawerau, Dart) and mountains (Coronet Peak, Remarkables, Ben Lomond) Today relax and enjoy the stunning lakes & rivers - there is a bounty of vineyards, cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the wider district of Queenstown, including Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley.

Recommended Excursions in Queenstown:

Routeburn Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise   Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail


6

Flight Queenstown to Blenheim - Transfer to Picton

Picton is a waterfront village snuggled between the hills and the sea at the top of the South Island New Zealand's gateway to the glorious Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park. It is in the sunny Marlborough region, famous for its visits from Captain Cook in the 1700s, its fine wines, green-lipped mussels, sandy beaches, popular boating centre and the Queen Charlotte Sounds.

Accommodation Picton - 1 night

Accommodation:

Built in 1886, this timeless elegant home has been restored in luxurious comforts and Victorian charm within Picton. The Sennen House offers self contained style accommodation with delicious breakfast provisions and just a short 1km stroll to Picton’s restaurants, shops and ferries. 

Sennen House - Picton

7

Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, Endeavour Inlet Via Motuara Island


DAY 1 ) Queen Charlotte Track (5-6 hours walking, 14 km 8.8 mi)

Your trip begins with personalised eco-tour with our guides on board a Cougar Line catamaran. During the morning your guide will share their knowledge of the sea birds and marine mammals as you travel to Motuara Island in the outer-Queen Charlotte Sound. Here you may have the opportunity to see the rare South Island Saddleback and South Island Robin who have been re-colonised on to this island sanctuary.

From Motuara Island you will cross the Sound to be dropped off at Ship Cove where you will begin your walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. Ship Cove is one of the most historic areas in the Sounds as it was one of James Cook's most popular destinations on his many world travels. The area is surrounded by bountiful virgin bush and the walk to the top of the ridge provides spectacular views. As you make your way down into Endeavour Inlet, you will spy Furneaux Lodge, your first night’s accommodation.

Dinner: will be served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

Accommodation Queen Charlotte Track - Furneaux Lodge - Studio Suites.
 

Nestled at the foot of Mount Furneaux in the outer reaches of the Queen Charlotte Sound, this unique boutique venue is  set on 3 acres of flat land, surrounded by 2000 acres of virgin forest. This magnificent Marlborough Sounds accommodation is an exclusive bush retreat and eco resort, steeped in history. 

Lodge

8

Furneaux Lodge - Punga Cove Resort

DAY 2 ) Queen Charlotte Track (4 hours walking, 12.5 km 7.4 mi)

After a leisurely breakfast at Furneaux Lodge you may like to take a walk up to the waterfall and see the magnificent stands of virgin native bush. Re-join the track as it winds its way around the coastline to the other side of Endeavour Inlet. Prolific birdsong dominate the day as you walk through some regenerating and virgin native bush.

Dinner is served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

Accommodation Queen Charlotte Track - Furneaux Lodge -  Chalets.

Set amongst stunning scenery in the magnificent waterways of New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds, this resort is the perfect retreat offering a range of accommodation styles to suit any budget. Explore the turquoise waters in our sea kayaks or visit nearby islands and cruise the sounds in search of playful Dusky Dolphins. The fully licensed restaurant situated to give breathtaking views of the entire Endeavour Inlet. 

punga Grove Marlborough Sounds

9

Punga Cove - Portage Resort Hotel

DAY 3 ) Queen Charlotte Track (8 hours walking, 24.5 km 15 mi)

Today you walk from Punga Cove to the Portage Resort Hotel along the ridge between Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound. Spectacular views dominate the day as you negotiate the very undulating ridge between the two sounds. This section is considered the most difficult on the track and clients do need to have a good level of fitness to enjoy this walk.

Dinner will be served in the restaurant with a glass of wine.

Accommodation Queen Charlotte Track - The Portage Resort - Hillside Suites

The Portage Resort Hotel is a contemporary, relaxing New Zealand resort and has been greeting guests to the Marlborough Sounds for over 100 years. The Resort  has rooms with spectacular views across gardens and the wide quiet bay of Kenepuru Sound. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and indoor spa, quality dining in Te Weka Restaurant.

The Portage Resort - Marlborough Sounds

10

Ridgeline Track - Picton

DAY 4 ) Queen Charlotte Track (7 hours walking, 20km)

Your final day on the Queen Charlotte Track. Today you will ascend to a ridgeline track which provides wonderful vistas of the Sounds as you walk along. After Misteltoe Bay, the track sidles along the hill and drops down into Davies Bay before the last half hour through mature beech forest ending at Anakiwa where our van will collect you for your return to Picton. Approximate walking time is 6-7 hours.

Accommodation Picton - 1 night

Accommodation:

Built in 1886, this timeless elegant home has been restored in luxurious comforts and Victorian charm within Picton. The Sennen House offers self contained style accommodation with delicious breakfast provisions and just a short 1km stroll to Picton’s restaurants, shops and ferries. 

Sennen House - Picton

11

Interisland Cruise to Wellington

A three-hour cruise from Picton, across Cook Strait, connects New Zealand’s North and South Islands. This challenging stretch of water connects the Tasman Sea to the Southern Pacific Ocean, for one third of the crossing the ferry navigates through the majestic Marlborough Sounds, a haven of sheltered inlets, coves and crystal clear waters.

On arrival into Wellington, this capital city is set between a magnificent harbor and rolling green hills situated at the southern tip of the North Island. It is also a compact city where funky shops, exciting galleries and great restaurants are within easy walking distance - not to mention the National Museum, National Theater and Gallery.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy the Ultimate New Zealand Adventure Tour and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 


What Jo says about this tour: This hike is one that I will remember for a very long time to come. Gob smackingly beautiful New Zealand scenery, incredible guides whose knowledge on the history of the area along with the flora and fauna, was enthralling. The accommodation was comfortable and the staff so warm and friendly. I loved every minute of it!
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