Preparation for 3 Day Guided Wilderness Experience

Boy scout motto: Be prepared

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The Hollyford Track is well formed and, being a valley walk, suitable for most ages (10+) and abilities.

That said, the days are long, and Day One in particular can be quite tiring for some as you walk 19.5km in approximately 7 hours while carrying your own pack. From Day Two your pack is transported for you while you carry a smaller day pack that we provide for your daily essentials. If you have a reasonable level of fitness you will find it pleasantly challenging, and highly rewarding! 

To prepare yourself, 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: 

  • Start simple and around town - brisk walks of approx.. 1 hour; 
  • Wear a backpack weighing about 6kgs to simulate what you will carry on Day One (only) of your Hollyford Track walk; 
  • One month out increase your walks to 3 hours – more as you get fitter - and try bush tracks or uneven terrain to develop balance and the different muscle groups needed; 
  • Hills and stair work will greatly improve fitness; 
  • Remember hydration and nutrition even in training – drink plenty of water and eat snack foods such as muesli bars, banana chips and chocolate. If you do this in your training walks, your body will become used to processing food whilst on the move!

Elevation Profile for 3 Day Walk

DOWNLOAD our Hollyford Wilderness equipment checklist



Boots and polypropylene Feet on the beach Hollyford Track

Looking after those feet!

NK feet


Your safety at all times is our priority and our operation, plant, facilities and equipment are all operated within the parameters of a Safe Operation Plan.

Your guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid kits with them; there are also first aid kits in our lodges, jet boats and coach. Our satellite and radio communications network means we have communication at all times within the valley, to our operations base in Queenstown and with emergency services. 

In many emergency cases in New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will cover the costs related to personal injury if incurred whilst in New Zealand. Please note however, that we highly recommend all walkers have personal travel/medical insurance while on the Hollyford Track as we can not guarantee that ACC will cover any cost associated with injury or evacuation. If injury or evacuation is not covered by ACC you will need personal travel/medical insurance to cover any associated costs which may for example include, but not be limited to, helicopter, medical, hospital, accommodation and flight rescheduling/cancellation costs. If an emergency is not covered by ACC and you do not have personal travel/medical insurance any associated costs will be passed on directly to you. 

 Whilst ACC will cover NZ Residents for medical emergencies and accidents on the track, we recommend domestic travel insurance to cover cancellations due to reasons such as: falling ill prior to your departure / a sprained ankle whilst partaking in another activity / a bereavement in the family / missing a flight to Queenstown and therefore, missing your departure etc



Hollyford Track is in a remote wilderness area and it is important to note that we don’t have modern communication amenities such as cell phone reception, telephones, and email. Whilst these amenities are now a standard part of our modern lives you will 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 that we have satellite phones, satellite internet and radio contact for the daily operational running of Hollyford Track and of course for use in the very unlikely case of an emergency. 


Hollyford Track is in a wilderness environment and can be affected by the weather.

The weather in Fiordland in general can be very unpredictable and change dramatically, very quickly; the close proximity of towering mountains and the ocean makes for conditions and temperatures that can vary markedly during the course of a day.

Summer months average around 20°C but the evenings can be a little cooler, our lodges of course are warm and comfortable. Winter temperatures average around 10°C on the coast with the evenings much colder.It is not unusual to experience both summer and winter conditions and temperatures on the same day!

It is important to be prepared for the worst conditions, even if they don't occur, and carry the appropriate clothing at all times. In the event of extreme weather the safety of all walkers is our priority and parts of the track may be bypassed if deemed to be of risk. In very rare situations your guide may need to adapt the day's walk, any decision to do this is a professional decision made by the guide, please respect their decision as it is based on experience and with your safety and comfort in mind.

Regardless of the conditions you experience, sun, rain, a combination of the two, or anything in between, your experience on the Hollyford Track will be a memorable one.


Clouds over Lake Alabaster

Clouds over Lake Alabaster

Sunshine at Long beach

Sunshine at Long beach