A gear check list for the Hollyford Wilderness Experience can be viewed here.
Fiordland has one of the highest levels of rainfall in the world! Whilst this can make it spectacular and contributes to the beautiful flora, it also means that the track can be very wet, muddy and slippery. Likewise, the creeks can rise rapidly, and therefore our groups often have to walk through water and mud – hence good quality, waterproof hiking boots are essential.
Both Te Anau and Queenstown have several specialist outdoor stores that sell clothing and other gear required for walking in Fiordland. However, we recommend that you only use these as a backup if you have forgotten something as we cannot guarantee that they will have a full range of products or sizes when you are here.
A comprehensive gear check list is provided upon booking, but you can view our gear check list here.
Across days two, three and four you will walk approximately 40km in total.
The Hollyford Wilderness Experience is a well-formed valley walk suitable for most ages (10+) and abilities. However, the days are long, Day Two can be quite tiring as you walk 19.5km in approximately 7 hours and you are required to carry your full pack. If you have a reasonable level of fitness you will find it pleasantly challenging, and highly rewarding!
To prepare yourself for the Wilderness Experience, we recommend structuring a training programme (at least 6 weeks beforehand) to ensure your walk with us is comfortable and therefore enjoyable. Some helpful tips are:
Fiordland has very changeable and unpredictable weather, so you need to be well prepared. It can change dramatically and quickly so it’s important to be prepared for the worst conditions and carry the appropriate clothing at all times. Summer months average around 20°C but the evenings can be a little cooler. Of course, our lodges are quite warm and comfortable! Spring and autumn temperatures average around 10°C on the coast with the evenings being cooler still.
Fiordland is a temperate rain forest and up to 9 metres of rain falls annually. That's right - 30 feet of water can fall in the headwaters every year, so this is one of the wettest places in the world! For Americans think Olympic Peninsula, WA. So, you need a good rain coat. If you don't have one, we will loan you one.
Due to the rainfall we have drying rooms in both the lodges, so you can expect any wet clothes will be warm, dry and ready to wear each morning. Please refer to our gear check list for the most suitable clothing.
Please note that, whilst we do our best, due to the nature of Fiordland’s weather it can be difficult to make very accurate forecast predictions.
Day One: Queenstown guests travel by coach 170kms to Te Anau
Day Two: All guests travel 100km through the beautiful Eglinton Valley to the track start. From there to Pyke Lodge we walk 19.5kms (12 miles) which takes up to 7 hours.
Day Three: We walk 15kms (9 miles) between Pyke Lodge and Martins Bay Lodge taking 4 - 5 hours. During this time, you will also travel approximately 25kms by jet boat down the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow.
Day Four: After breakfast we walk up to 5kms (3 miles) along Martins Bay Spit, which takes 3 - 4 hours. Following lunch, you will take a spectacular helicopter flight along the coast and into the breath-taking Milford Sound before boarding our coach to drive 118kms to Te Anau (and a further 170 kms to Queenstown).
Both lodges have flush toilets and there are clean long drop style toilets at our lunch stops.
A selection of New Zealand craft beer, fine wines and organic soft drinks are available for purchase at the lodges. We accept debit and credit cards and you will be asked to pay for any drinks at the end of your walk before you fly out to Milford Sound. Note that should you not wish to finish your bottle of wine on the first evening, we will transport it for you to the second lodge. There is also a complimentary selection of tea, coffee and fruit juice.
You will be able to store any additional luggage that you don't require with you on the Hollyford Track at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel.
The 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 and we have 24hr power in the lounge area for charging cameras etc.
We have many guests that travel with us on their own and many find it a great opportunity to walk and interact with other guests. The lodge bedrooms are twin share rooms - unless you specify you want a single room at the time of booking, you will share with another guest of the same gender at no extra cost. If you would like to guarantee a room to yourself, a single supplement charge will apply at the time of booking.
Given our remote location it is difficult to cater specifically to all dietary requests. However, we can cater for the following if we know well in advance of your arrival:
At the time of booking you will be asked to confirm any such dietary requirements. If you have any food allergies, please let us know.
Pyke Lodge and Martins Bay Lodge have drying rooms which are designed to dry suitable fabrics (not cotton). Please note that we do not have washing facilities.
Don’t worry, our jet boat ride is simply a means of transport which cuts out the need for a whole lot more walking! Think of it as cruise down the river and lake, and not a fun park ride.
Day One - if you wish to take the coach transfer from Queenstown to Te Anau, this departs the Station Building at 3:30pm and Queenstown Airport at 4pm, arriving at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel at approximately 6:00pm.
Day Two - our coach departs the Distinction Luxmore Hotel at 8:00am, heading to the start of the Hollyford Track.
Day Four - you will arrive back at the Distinction Luxmore hotel in Te Anau at approximately 4:00pm. We'll stop here for half an hour before continuing on to Queenstown, arriving at approximately 6:30pm. Note - we cannot guarantee the Queenstown arrival time so we advise not booking a flight home until the following day.
From the Distinction Luxmore Hotel in Te Anau it takes just under two hours to drive to the start of the Hollyford Wilderness Experience.
Yes, just let us know at the time of booking.
For all Wilderness Experience guests, we ask that you attend the pre-departure briefing held at the Distinction Lumxore Hotel in Te Anau at 6.30pm. This is a chance for you to make sure you are fully prepared for the walk and to meet your fellow walkers. It also gives you the opportunity to pick up a backpack and/or raincoat, should you require one. If you are really unable to attend, please contact our reservations team.
You can park your vehicle in the car park at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau, your accommodation on the first evening.
We strongly recommend all guests, both New Zealand citizens, residents and overseas visitors, purchase travel insurance. This should guard against loss of fares paid should you have to cancel the trip for any reason within our cancellation period. Travel insurance may cover cancellations due to reasons such as falling ill or having an accident prior to the trip, a family bereavement, missing a flight to Queenstown and therefore missing the trip departure etc.
Once your trip has commenced, ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) will cover any accidents that occur on the track for both New Zealand citizens, residents and overseas visitors. Should any guest suffer an illness on the track such as a stroke or heart attack, St John New Zealand will cover the cost of a helicopter evacuation for all New Zealand citizens and those holding a work or permanent residency visa and long term Australian residents. All other tourists will have to pay for such an evacuation.
The Hollyford Wilderness Experience operates all summer, through to early autumn. The flora and fauna in the valley can vary within this period.
Given the location of the Hollyford Wilderness Experience it is important to note that we don’t have modern communication amenities such as cell phone reception. Whilst these amenities are now a standard part of our modern lives you’ll be glad not to have them for a few days, as it gives you a 100% revitalising break from your ‘other’ lives. It doesn’t take long to adjust and enjoy not having them. Do take comfort in knowing that we do have satellite phones and radio contact for daily operational running of your experience and for use in the very unlikely case of an emergency.