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Days: 4 days
Grade: D
(Average of 4-5 hours a day, but up to 8 hours on longer days)
Pre-track Briefing:

The guide will meet you the day before departure, 4.30 pm, at 58 McDougall Street, Wanaka, to do a full gear check and finalise last minute details.

Start/Finish: Wanaka 8:30am
Wanaka 5pm

April 2018: 17
November 2018: 25
December 2018: 10, 27
January 2019: 19, 31
February 2019: 10, 28
March 2019: 9, 31
April 2019: 11


Period 1st Jun 17 - 31st May 18
  Adult (2 people) NZD $2,450.00
  Adult (3 people or more) NZD $1,975.00

Period 1st Jun 18 - 31st May 19
  Adult (Guide : Client ratio of 1:2) NZD $2,450.00
  Adult (Guide : Client ratio of 1:3-5) NZD $1,975.00



Wanaka to Mt Aspiring National Park and Top Forks Hut

Meet at 8.30am at the office - 58 McDougall St, Wanaka. Travel 45 minutes to the small village of Makarora. Here we board a fixed wing aircraft and fly into the heart of Mount Aspiring Park. A leisurely 2-hour walk brings us to the Top Forks Hut. The walking is not difficult but it is exciting with numerous river crossings and your first taste of wilderness travel. The afternoon is spent exploring this marvellous valley.


Discovering Alpine Lakes

This day is spent discovering the three alpine lakes known as Diana, Lucidus and Castalia. The trail climbs gradually as it weaves through native beech forest until breaking out above the tree line. The hiking to the final lake, Lake Castalia, is some of the most rugged (and rewarding) terrain you will ever encounter. This day can be as long as you like, from 1 hour to 6 hours.


Waterfall Flat

The hike to Waterfall Flat climbs from dense forest into the high alpine. It is a magnificent climb as the trail rises through Snow-Bridge Gorge, a deep canyon surrounded by glaciers and waterfalls. The trail is challenging until it opens out into the incomparable Waterfall Flat. Surrounded by high peaks and flowing rivers, this seldom visited valley is a unique New Zealand paradise. 6-7 hours return.


Mt Aspiring National Park to Wanaka

We head down river to the Kerin Forks to meet the jet boat. This is a gentle downhill grade for 6-7 hours along the north bank of the great Wilkin River. The track is challenging with numerous side stream crossings. A thrilling 1-hour jet boat ride brings us back to our van and the return to Wanaka.

Grading & Fitness

Grade: D

  • Moderate hike, reasonable level of fitness and agility essential.
  • Up to 6 hrs of physical activity per day.
  • At times carrying a backpack of 5-8 kgs.
  • Tracks generally in good condition.
  • Altitude gains of up to 600m on harder days.
  • No hiking experience necessary.
  • Reasonable standard of fitness required.
  • Easy / Moderate Grade. 

This hike is perfect for people who are unsure about just how difficult a trip they should tackle.  At the end of each day we return to Top Forks Hut, so you are free to push yourself just as hard as you want.  The day trips that go all the way to Lake Castalia or Waterfall Flat can be quite challenging but if people prefer to have a more leisurely day they can do a shorter day.  While some people have pushed a long way up to the glaciers, other people sometimes swim and sunbathe the day away within a kilometer of the hut.  The final day is a 7 hour hike back to Kerin Forks to meet the jetboat.  The track follows the Wilkin River and while there are short up and downs it loses little overall vertical.  There is an option to fly out (at additional cost). Hikers should be moderately fit, children above the age of 10 usually do fine if they are keen on hiking.

What to Take

Essential Items:

For the Body

  • Base layer : 2 x tops & 2 x long johns – polypro or merino e.g. icebreaker (no cotton), 150 - 190 weight
  • Insulating layer top: 1 x light (200 - 300 weight), 1 x heavy (300+ weight)
  • Waterproof layer: Jacket & overpants
  • Lightweight quick drying shorts or pants
  • Light shirt for warm weather 


  • Light weight, warm gloves


  • Warm hat which covers ears
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses


  • Socks – 2 pairs
  • Pair of walking shoes/boots
  • Gaiters (optional)


  • Light day pack
  • Camera
  • Head torch/Flashlight
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Small pack liner
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Personal toiletries and medication
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun cream and lip cream


  • Trekking pole (a 3 section pole is best to fit into a small pack)
  • light book or magazine 
  • earplugs

Supplied: all meals and snacks, sleeping bag, liner and sleeping mats.

Equipment Hire

Per day (NZ$)

Hiking Pack


Hiking Boots




Walking poles (pair)


Base layer - top & bottom (purchase from)


Gaiters (purchase from)


Headlamp (purchase from)




You are transported to the Mount Aspiring National Park which is about an hours drive from Wanaka. A fixed wing aircraft will fly you into Jumboland. Please note that if weather is unsuitable for a fixed wing flight, a helicopter may be used. In this case, there will be a surcharge for the helicopter access.

A thrilling 1-hopur jet boat ride will return you to the vehicle on Day 4.


Energy snacks and nutritious meals are an essential ingredient in helping you perform to your highest standard. Good wholesome meals are provided and plenty of it. Specific dietary requirements are catered for.


Top Forks back-country hut - mattresses, water supply, toilets, hand washing facilities and heating with fuel available. 

Additional Costs

  • hire gear if anything needed.
  • helicopter surcharge if weather is unsuitable for a fixed wing aircraft

If your party is unable to egress from the mountains at the end of your trip for any reason, a fee of NZ$550 plus expenses (including but not limited to hut & park fees) per extra day is applicable to your party, and is divided between the trip participants.

Guides & Safety

The mountain & ski guiding team are qualified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. The NZMGA are affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association who governs mountain guiding worldwide. The specialist trekking guides are 'hand-picked' from within the industry, in light of their qualifications, knowledge, experience level and communication skills. Some of them have NZMGA qualifications, others have rock climbing, ski patrol and outdoor leadership qualifications. All have strong first-aid skills and a wealth of local experience on the routes guided.


What about my other luggage and valuables?

Additional luggage and valuables can be securely stored at the office in Wanaka during your trip.

In an emergency are we in contact with the outside world while on our trip?

All climbing trips and courses are in radio and phone communications with the Operations/Safety base and the Department of Conservation local office that manages each National Park area. Weather information and coordination of helicopters are through these channels. In some circumstances mountain radio links are available for the relay of any urgent messages.

What about the weather?

New Zealand is famous for its changeable weather. The mountains here are characterized by long sunny fine periods mixed with sudden and sometimes heavy rain or snow. Our experienced guides are well equipped to provide the best possible trip and have many years experience in judging the conditions. Travel in bad weather is an art in itself, the temperate rain forest here is absolutely beautiful in the rain.

What if I want to book as a single?

Try to choose a scheduled date, and if that doesn't fit, let us know. We can book you as a single and then will try to match others to your dates. If we cannot find at least one other person for the dates you want, one month before the start date we will give you a full refund. 

How heavy does my pack need to be?

You will only need to carry a day pack of about 5 – 8kg.

How do I get to Wanaka?

The closest airport is in Queenstown, 1 hour away. Some flights from Australia come direct into Queenstown. There are regular shuttles between Queenstown airport and Wanaka.

Booking Conditions


N.B : Please note that this itinerary is a sample only and the actual itinerary may vary at the discretion of your guide. Weather, conditions and personal ability and needs may make changes necessary or advantageous to the participants.


For bookings 4 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 4 months of the departure, full payment is required.


Over 60 days before tour: $200 per person
Between 60 days and 30 days before tour: 50% of total trip fee as a cancellation fee

29 days and 15 days 75% of total course fee as a cancelation fee
15 days or less before tour: - NO REFUND.
No refund for any services not utilised after tour has started 

If the weather remains adverse and prevents the trip from operating, you have the opportunity to carry out sub alpine adventure and skill development activities. The Guide fee applies and any trip costs not utilised will be refunded.

Medical Conditions:

When you book you must notify us of any medical condition, medical history, or medications that you are on. In particular, asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, anti-depressants, allergies to wasp/bee stings and food allergies.

Travel Insurance

Injuries are covered by the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). ACC pays for the majority of costs incurred in evacuation and treatment of injured people. They do not cover you in case of illness. We recommend that you have travel insurance that will cover you in being repatriated to your home country. Most standard travel insurance policies that cover lost deposit or cancellation fees will cover you in case you are somehow prevented from participating in the trip.


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This trip is run in conjunction with another operator.

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