This trip dossier contains all the information you require for booking this trip. Please print off and read carefully before booking.
Days: 3 days
(Average of 4-5 hours a day, but up to 8 hours on longer days)
5:30pm the day prior to departure.
Start/Finish: Start: Queenstown at 6:30am or Te Anau at 8:30am
Finish: Te Anau 4:30pm (approx.) Queenstown 7:00pm (approx.)
October 2019: 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30
Period 1st Oct 19 - 23rd Dec 19
Period 24th Dec 19 - 30th Apr 20
Maximum 16 people.
Please note: all April trips depart from Te Anau only, approximately 7.15am. You may choose to return to Te Anau or Queenstown, but please bring your extra luggage with you if you choose the Queenstown option (your luggage will be safely stored for you during your trip).
Child rates apply 10 - 14 years inclusive (minimum age 10 years).
Depart Queenstown and travel alongside the beautiful Lake Wakatipu and on to Te Anau, or pick up in Te Anau (meet at Distinction Hotel, 64 Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, ready for departure at 8.30am). After a brief stop here, travel on through the majestic Eglington Valley to the start of the track in the Hollyford Valley, visiting Gunn's Camp Museum on the way. Re-trace the footsteps of early explorers along the Hollyford River to Pyke River Lodge. As the track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside tumbling waterfalls, enjoy interesting historical tales and interpretation of the forest and bird life. In the evening you can visit the nearby glow-worm colony.
Begin your day with a short walk to Lake Alabaster and learn the history and geology of the area amidst 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 that was intended to be the capital of the South Island in the late 1900's. Walk through the ancient Podocarp forest (New Zealand native pines) with huge rimu, totara and kahikatea trees wrapped in massive rata vines. Arrive at Martins Bay Lodge by 5:00pm.
Walk through the young rejuvenating forest of Jerusalem Creek and visit the fur seal colony at Long Reef on the wild West Coast. You may see the rare Fiordland crested penguin. Travel by jetboat to the beach and explore the seven kilometre Martins Bay Beach sand-dunes and lagoon. Learn about its history and the plant, sea and bird life. Return to Martins Bay Lodge and enjoy a scenic flight to Milford Sound, with views of the track, Hollyford Valley and Mt Tutoko, Fiordland's highest peak. Board your coach for your return journey to Te Anau or Queenstown with stops of interest along the way. Arrive back no later than 4.30 to Te Anau or 7:00pm to Queenstown.
Average of 4-5 hrs physical activity per day, but takes up to 7 hours on longer days.
At times carrying small backpack of 5-7kgs.
Tracks generally in good condition.
Altitude gains of up to 100m. It would be good to have some hiking experience, as you will walk through water, mud etc. on some occasions. Reasonable standard of fitness required.
The days are long but not difficult. There are often guests from the ages of 10 to 84 doing the walk and as long as you are an actively fit person you will manage the walk. You only carry your pack on the first day's walk in (the contents of what you need to bring will fit in a medium sized backpack, weighing approximately 5-7kg), the rest of the time it is taken by boat/plane. As all linen, duvets, towels and food are provided, you need only bring your personal gear keeping your packs light for a more enjoyable adventure.
SUPPLIED IF REQUIRED (at no extra cost) : Backpacks, day packs, pack liners, rain jackets.
Should you get wet during the day, there are drying rooms at both lodges so if you keep your gear lightweight and fast drying, it should dry overnight. Cotton garments, jeans or silk thermals are not recommended. Perspiration means you are likely to feel damp and cold inside the best raincoat.
Optional items: You may like to include the following:
Supplied: All meals, towels, linen, duvets, hot water bottles, soap, shampoo, headlamp and hair-dryers.
This hike involves a combination of coach travel from Queenstown/Te Anau to the start of the track, jetboat travel on the Hollyford River, a scenic flight to Milford Sound, and finally a coach trip back to Te Anau/Queenstown. You do hike as well!
Lodge chefs prepare hearty breakfasts, picnic lunches and superb evening dining. Breakfasts are tasty, hearty and well balanced to give you just the right fuel for the day ahead. Then for lunch you'll receive a delicious packed picnic lunch. Dinner is a mouth-watering delight - the lodge chefs take great delight in preparing superb evening dining. The menu may include such delights as antipasto misto, seared whole roasted sirloin, Hollyford Valley styled roast vegetables and lemon tart. Individual dietary requirements can also be catered for. If you would like wine with your meal please carry in some cash as there is a selection of wines to be bought at the lodges.
At the end of an invigorating day of exploration, you'll arrive at a warm and dry lodge, to a hearty welcome and fine cuisine. The evening of Day 1 is spent at Pyke River Lodge, at the confluence of the Hollyford and Pyke Rivers. Night 2 is spent at Martins Bay Lodge, close to the mouth of the Hollyford River.
The lodges are a great place to unwind, watch the beauty of the night descending and reflect on your day. The well-appointed lodges have unlimited hot water, separate toilet and shower facilities as well as a drying room. Towels, duvets and linen are all provided. The lodge bedrooms are twin share rooms, and should you be travelling alone, every effort will be made to accommodate you privately. However, when the group is at maximum capacity (16) this may not be possible. The lodges run on generator power, and usage is conserved by turning out lights at 11:00pm. If you wish to read later, please pack a torch.
There are no additional costs.
The guides are experts on the flora, fauna, history and geology of the area, so you take away so much more than just photographs of beautiful scenery. You'll be enriched with the understanding of the valley, instilled by the staff who share their passion for this special part of the world with you. They will educate and enlighten you with historical tales and interpretation of the environment around you.
When is the best time of year to walk The Hollyford Track?
This depends on your interests. July to December - penguins are at Long Reef. January - seals have their pups. February/March - traditionally the warmest months with the summer flowering plants in bloom. April/May - rata vines still in flower, weather usually cooler - crisp and fine.
Is there a briefing for this hike?
Yes there is. The briefing is the night before departure.
Queenstown: 5:30pm at The Spire Hotel, located on Church Lane, which runs between Church Street and Earl Street.
Te Anau: 5.30pm at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel, 64 Lakefront Drive, Te Anau.
Please check-in 15 minutes prior.
At the briefing the guide will explain the details of the track, and hand out rain jackets and backpacks to those requiring them. Arrangements will be made for pick-up from your Queenstown hotel the following morning, or details provided regarding the meeting point if joining in Te Anau.
What is the average temperature I can expect?
Summer months average around 20 degrees Celsius. Evenings can be a little cooler but the lodges are warm. Winter average is around 10 degrees out on the coast with the evenings colder. Weather can change very rapidly so expect to experience both summer and winter temperatures in one day.
What do I need to bring? How important are boots?
A comprehensive list is listed above. It is recommended you have sturdy, well worn in walking boots with good ankle support. Being a rainforest the area experiences a lot of rain and the track can get muddy in places.
If I don't have a backpack, can I borrow one?
Backpacks are available to borrow and can be collected at the pre-trip briefing. As you won't need to carry this backpack on days 2 and 3, you will be provided with a smaller daypack on the morning of day 2 for your lunch and personal items for that day and day 3, and your larger backpack will be transported for you.
About the lodges; is there electricity, can I have my own room, what about the bathrooms?
The lodges are run on generator power which is turned off around 11:00pm, so if you wish to read late into the night please bring your own torch. The shared bathroom facilities have unlimited hot water and each toilet and shower is in its own room. The bedrooms are twin share, bunk style and if you are travelling alone it may be possible to have your own room, but not guaranteed. The lodges accommodate sixteen guests which is the maximum group size for any one tour.
How difficult is the walk, how fit do I have to be?
The Hollyford Track is well formed and, being a valley walk, is suitable for most ages (10+) and abilities. That said, the days are long, and Day One in particular can be quite tiring as you walk 19.5km in approximately 7 hours. Day One is the only day where you are required to carry your pack (generally around 6kg), but don't worry, as ample food and comfortable bedding are all provided at the private lodges, you are relieved of the burden of carrying a weighty pack. The rest of the time your pack is taken by boat/plane. There are often guests from the ages of 10 to 84 doing the walk and as long as you are an actively fit person you will manage the walk.
Are the seals and penguins always seen at Long Reef, Martins Bay?
The colony of New Zealand fur seals are always visible at Long Reef. The penguins however, only come to land to nest in the flax bushes at Long Reef between the months of July to December. They are visible in pairs and entertaining to observe. They do come back to land one other time in the year, Feb/Mar to moult, however, they are rarely seen as they are not in pairs and they tend to hide.
What if the weather is such that an aeroplane cannot fly us from Martins Bay to Milford Sound on our last day?
When the weather is not good enough to use a fixed wing aircraft, a helicopter will be used instead to fly you out.
All itinerary details and prices are subject to change at any time without prior notice. The Operator reserves the right to alter, amend or cancel any tour should weather conditions or any other situation demand this. The operator will finalise all tour arrangements upon the express condition that they will not be liable for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of weather or any defect in any vehicle, vessel or aircraft or through the acts or defaults of any company or persons engaged in conveying passengers, or in carrying out the arrangements of the tours.
If over 70 years of age a doctor's certificate of physical fitness is required.
For bookings four or more months in advance of the departure a 25% deposit can be paid with the remainder due 65 days prior to your trip. For bookings within four months of the departure, full payment is required.
30 - 89 days prior to departure: cancellation fee is 50% of the total trip cost
Within 30 days of walk departure date: cancellation fee is 100% of the total trip cost (no refund)
Once your walk has commenced, there is no refund available for any portion due to any circumstances.
We strongly recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance. World Nomads Travel Insurance provides online quotes.