Hollyford Wilderness
Experience

A journey of discovery from the mountains to the sea

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4 Day Wilderness Experience

Walk the Hollyford Valley from the mountains to the sea.

The Hollyford Track Wilderness Experience is a 4 day / 3 night all-inclusive multi day adventure. Following your experienced guide, you will traverse this historic valley by foot, jet boat, and finally, helicopter as your guide brings to life the diversity of the landscape, vegetation, wildlife, and history.


The Hollyford Track Guided Wilderness Experience includes: 

  • Return coach transport from Queenstown and / or Te Anau.
  • Pre-departure briefingHollyford Little Homer falls group
  • Group dinner at the Distinction Luxmore restaurant
  • One night's accommodation at the Distinction Luxmore hotel
  • Friendly, knowledgeable & professional guides
  • Wilderness jet boat journey down the Hollyford river and across Lake McKerrow
  • Amazing helicopter flight into Milford Sound
  • Friendly professional lodge hosts
  • Well-appointed private lodges with twin share bunk-style bedrooms, shared bathrooms, hot showers, and flush toilets (unisex bathroom at Pyke Lodge)
  • All bedding including duvets and hot water bottles, towels, soap, shampoo, and hairdryers
  • 3 course evening meals, cooked and continental breakfasts, and wilderness lunches, plus snacks along the way 
  • Use of backpacks, rain jackets and walking poles if required 
  • Transport of your main pack from Pyke Lodge to Martins Bay Lodge (while you use one of our smaller day packs for essential gear only)
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Itinerary in brief

DAY 1
Travel from Queenstown or Te Anau to your accommodation at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel where you will attend a pre-departure briefing and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
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DAY 2
Travel from Te Anau to the Hollyford Valley and then walk 19.5km with your guide through native beech forest to Pyke Lodge.
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DAY 3
Morning light on Lake Alabaster, wilderness jet boating, 15km of Podocarp forest, coastal reefs, and finally fur seals before spending the night at Martins Bay Lodge.
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DAY 4
Explore Martins Bay spit and both Māori and European settlement, walking 8.5km, before flying by helicopter into Milford Sound where our coach awaits to return you to Te Anau and then Queenstown.
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COSTS / DEPARTURES
Departing every second day from mid-October to late April. Low and high season rates apply.
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 Hollyford Track are proud members of Ngai Tahu Tourism who offer a variety of attractions and tours in NZ, including:

Franz Josef Glacier Guides
Dart River
Guided Walks New Zealand
Shotover Jet
NZ Snowshoeing
Agrodome
Hukafalls Jet
Rainbow Springs

Day One - Pre departure

Queenstown Coach Transfer

If you are flying into Queenstown you can jump on board our coach which will depart for Te Anau as follows:

3:30pm - The Station Building, Duke Street

4:00pm - Queenstown Airport

You will be taken straight to your accommodation at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel, located at 41 Town Centre, Te Anau.

Briefing

Whilst we will send you all the information you need to prepare for the Hollyford Track, we also conduct a pre-departure briefing, which you are required to attend.

Pre-departure briefings provide an opportunity to meet the other guests in your group. We will cover the details you will need to know for your departure the following day such as what to bring, what’s provided, and an itinerary breakdown. This is also the opportunity to ask any questions and to collect and make use of our backpacks and rain jackets if required.

Pre-departure briefings are conducted at 6:30pm (please arrive 5 minutes early) at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel - 41 Town Centre, Te Anau.

PLEASE NOTE FOR TRIPS DEPARTING MARCH & APRIL 2021 - BRIEFINGS ARE HELD AT 5:30PM (IN BOTH QUEENSTOWN AT THE SPIRE HOTEL AND TE ANAU AT THE DISTINCTION LUXMORE HOTEL).

Accommodation

One night's accommodation (including dinner and breakfast) at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel, is provided, before you embark on your wilderness experience in the Hollyford valley.

Day Two - Pyke Lodge

Discover some of New Zealand's most beautiful lakes and glacial valleys, dwarfed by majestic mountains at the start at the Hollyford Track.

On the morning of departure from Te Anau, you will be able to enjoy a cooked or continental breakfast at 7am. We meet at the hotel reception at 7:45am, ready to depart at 8am.

Once at the start of the track we put on our packs (see our FAQs for packing advice to keep your pack light) and start our 19.5km journey to Pyke lodge. You will follow the swift, clear waters of the Hollyford River, beneath the gaze of the mighty Southern Alps, including Fiordland National Park’s two highest peaks of Mt Tutoko (2746m) and Mt Madeline (2537m).

You'll retrace the footsteps of original Māori and early pioneer explorers, as the track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside impressive tumbling waterfalls.

At the end of the first day of your guided walk 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 of your guided walk experience.

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Day Two Highlights

Hollyford Mt Madeline from Pyke Lodge

Mt Madeline (2537m)

Hollyford Lodge Pyke dining

Day Three - Martins Bay

As the morning sun shines over the mountains, a delicious breakfast puts everyone on track, ready for the mystical forest, glistening Lake Alabaster and the optional crossing of one of Fiordland’s longest swing bridges.

Hollyford Rata vine on Podocarp

Today we cover 15km by foot and your main pack will be transported to Martins Bay Lodge while you carry a smaller day pack (that we provide) for your daily essentials. After an initial short walk, you'll board our jet boat for the next part of your adventure. These powerful and safe machines provide an exciting scenic ride along the Hollyford River and down to Lake McKerrow, where the glassy waters whisk past and the mountains rise dramatically above. You may even encounter a family of Bottlenose Dolphins who regularly visit the lower river and lake. Before the ride is over even your professional jet boat driver will have a story to share.

The human history in the Hollyford Valley is as incredible as the scenery. Throughout your multi day adventure you’ll discover the triumphs and tragedies of ill-fated Jamestown, you’ll pass ancient forests with thousand year old giants such as native Rimu, Totara and Kahikatea, and 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. Continue on, and Long Reef plays host to a rookery of native New Zealand Fur Seals, here you’ll marvel at their nimble skills in the crashing surf and relax as they laze on the rocks.

Martins Bay Lodge completes an unforgettable second day. Raise a glass to the traditional ‘Hollyford Toast’ as a wonderful way to finish your day.

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Day Three Highlights

Hollyford jet boat journey

Jet Boating the Hollyford River

Martins Bay Lodge At Night

Martins Bay Lodge At Night

Day Four - Milford Sound

After another hearty breakfast you’ll be ready for your final 5km walk, exploring Martins Bay Spit, a famous landmark separating the powerful Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley.

Hollyford Helicopter fun

Here you will view historical sites, 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 remote area. You will have the opportunity to explore the sand dunes, and wander along the isolated beach at your own pace, with the Tasman Sea as your companion.

Returning to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch, your lodge hosts bid you farewell as you board the helicopter for a scenic flight along the rugged coastline and into the 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 along the impressive Milford Road, up through the famous Homer Tunnel, cutting through a divide of sheer granite rock, and stopping at the source of the Hollyford Valley and River before embarking on your last leg back to Te Anau and Queenstown.

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Day Four Highlights

Hollyford Rocky beach scape

Martins Bay Sandspit

Hollyford walking Martins Bay sandspit

Hiking Through Sand Dunes On Martins Bay Spit