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Why this experience will change your life

I was feeling mega locked-in by city life and city stress and city days – You too? 

I needed a change, and pronto. This gorgeous forest-shift was exactly the yummy nature-balm my busy soul was looking for. 

Destination – The Hollyford Track

The Hollyford Track is a remarkable journey for the heart, soul and feet. Whether you are an expert ‘tramper’ or simply treasure the crystal clear air of a walk in the wild, this adventure will wrap you up in a fern-frond curly cuddle.

The itinerary itself is pretty enticing –

  • 3 days and 43kms of hiking through Fiordland’s pristine ancient rainforests.
  • Twinkling waterfalls, brilliant glacial rivers.
  • A buffet of nature-loving and wildlife-watching.
  • All entirely off-grid (double Yay!)
  • Local foodie fare, freshly prepared each evening by hosts at our two forest lodges
  • Jet-boating and helicopter-ing..

There is even a glow-worm cave. Score!

It’s a pretty impressive trek to-do list, but let’s talk about the experience itself…

In 4 words – It blew my mind.

Air NZ0830 from Sydney to New Zealand is just long enough to spend almost all of Lord of the Rings 1 with the swarthy-ness of Viggo Morenson, while he strides and rides his way past Orcs and the like in the New Zealand wild.

Consider my appetite for the lush green forests of the South Island officially STIMULATED!

Queenstown gives me a cheeky wink through the plane’s portholes on descent and its one of the few times I am not happy to have an aisle seat.

Alighting to the tarmac, the Remarkables Mountain Range literally steals my breath and reaches into my little eye-wells to pluck out a few tears..  the scene is that beautiful.


Uber-zen local tourism guru Kate is there to meet me. Lucky Kate becomes my travel buddy (and emergency mummy) over the next 3 days. She is also mid-prep for the infamous GodZone enduro event, so I am in doubly capable hands.

For surprisingly only the second time in my many years of travelling, I’ve abandoned carefully selected hiking gear in my roll on bag back in Sydney airport (I blame this on temporary amnesia caused by villainously unavoidable Duty Free perfume war-zone).. so Kate and I now have to speed-shop a new set and borrow hiking boots. *I can recommend The Warehouse near the airport if you are similarly prone to abandoning travel attire.

To make sure a lavishly well-rested evening sets me up for the next morning’s early start, I’m checked into the (independently owned) Rees resort, right on the stunning Lake Wakatipu. The Remarkables fill the vista from my Lake View Suite with her minxy razorback spine and snow-dusted peaks.

Attention to detail bursts out of every character-filled corner of The Rees.  It is a ‘must-stay-here’ spot when you visit Queenstown.

 To read Mieke Buchan's full article click here