Hollyford Track Guided Walk

Due to the nature of this track being privately run, we don't currently offer the hike as part our adventures. Don't sweat it though, there are over 500 incredible hiking trails down here in New Zealand, so you're spoilt for choice. If you're set on the Hollyford Track and you only have 3 days down here, have a read below. We're all locals and we know the place like the back of our hand, so if you're still considering your options and you want to maximise your time in the South Island, we'd love to chat to you about your plans and how we may help you discover more of our backyard. Often it's the lesser known gems that really exceed expectations! 

Hollyford Track Map


Hollyford Track Guided Walk Itinerary

Pre Departure Briefing

Your pre departure briefing begins at 6pm. Your guide will explain the details of the Track; arrange storage for your surplus luggage and hand out rain jackets and backpacks to those requiring them.

Day 1: Waterfalls, Pyke River Lodge, Glow Worms

Depart for the Hollyford Valley and travel through the majestic Eglington Valley to the start of the Track in the Hollyford Valley visiting Gunn's Camp museum on the way. Then 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 our nearby glow-worm colony.
Walking Distance: Approx 17kms (12miles).

Day 2: Lakes, Jet Boating and 1000 year old trees

Begin your day with a short walk to Lake Alabaster and learn of the history and geology of the area whilst in the midst of 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 Martin's Bay Lodge by 5pm.
Walking Distance: Approx 12kms (7miles).

Day 3: Wildlife Experience, Martins Bay Beach and Coastline /Scenic Flight to Milford Sound

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 jet boat to the beach and explore the seven kilometre Martins Bay Beach sand-dunes and lagoon. Learn about its history and its plant, sea and bird life. Return to Martins Bay Lodge and then enjoy a scenic flight to Milford Sound, with views of the Track route, Hollyford Valley and Mt Tutoko, Fiordland's highest peak.
Walking Distance: Approx 8kms (5miles).

The Hollyford Track Guided Walk History

Hollyford Track Guided Walks started life back in the 1940's when Davey Gunn opened up the track for guided walks. The walk was further developed by one of Davey Gunn's assistants, Ed Cotter.

In 1959 the Hollyford Valley was incorporated into the Fiordland National Park and in the mid sixties, jet-boating was added to the walk itinerary with the launch of the "the Davey Gunn" on Lake McKerrow.

In the early nineties, extensive improvements were made, including refurbishment and extension to Martins Bay Lodge Accommodation block and the bathroom unit, the building of a new Pyke River Lodge and the purchase of a new twin engine jetboat, and 20-seater coach. A strong customer focus was also introduced with time and effort being placed on getting the product right for the customer. The result has been a 100% recommend rate of the Hollyford Track to friends and family from 1500 of the past customers that have been surveyed.

Today the Hollyford Track Guided Walk is renowned as one of New Zealand's greatest walks with a diverse range of scenery, plant and wildlife and distinctly different experiences that are unequalled by any other walk in the country.

Your Fitness. Are You Up To The Challenge?

Following the course of the Hollyford River, the Hollyford Track is a low-altitude walk for anyone of reasonable fitness and of any age although we prefer guests to be over 10 years old. 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.

An Amazing Variety of Wildlife

The huge variety of trees, vines, flowers and ferns, are home to an amazing range of bird life including wood pigeons, Kea, Kaka and owls, bellbirds, warblers, robins, chaffinches, cuckoo, tui and white heron as well as many species of sea birds. You may also see the huge bottlenose dolphins in the lower Hollyford River or Lake McKerrow, one of the two places in the world where they are found in fresh water. A feature of your itinerary is a visit to a colony of seals and, during certain months, the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

Unique New Zealand Adventure Activities

Unique New Zealand Adventure Activities The Hollyford Track is the only guided walk that includes walking, boating and flying; a scenic jet boat journey on the Hollyford River, a scenic flight into Milford Sound and an awe inspiring drive out from Milford Sound when returning to Te Anau. Experience the best of New Zealand adventure activities.

Warm, Welcoming Lodges

At the end of an invigorating day of exploration, you'll arrive at a warm and dry lodge, a hearty welcome and fine cuisine. The evening of Day One is spent at Pyke River Lodge, at the confluence of Hollyford and Pyke Rivers. Night two is spent at Martins Bay Lodge, close to mouth of the Hollyford River.

Fine Cuisine

The Lodge meals are a real treat of the Hollyford experience. 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 picnic lunch.

Dinner is a gourmet delight, the lodge chefs take great delight in preparing superb evening dining. The menu includes delicious cuisine, such as antipasto misto, seared whole roasted sirloin, Hollyford Valley styled roast vegetables and lemon tart.

Informed Guides and Small Group Sizes

Friendly guides educate and enlighten you with historical tales and interpretation of the environment around you.

To ensure you have a very "personal" Hollyford Track experience, group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16. This ensures the guides have the time to spend with you, answering questions and explaining the fascinating history of the Hollyford Valley from its creation. Because there is so much to share, only in small, intimate group sizes does this work.

What You Need to Bring for the Hollyford Track Guided Walk

"There is no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing"

The walk is pleasantly challenging and highly rewarding, without being out of the reach of people with an average fitness level.

We suggest you bring the following items:

  • Sturdy footwear - tramping boots (worn in)
  • Two or more pairs woollen socks
  • Highly protective rain wear (hooded anorak)
  • Polar fleece - jersey
  • Spare jersey
  • Polypropylene long johns (1 or 2 pairs)
  • Polypropylene long sleeved tops (1 or 2)
  • Shorts (1 or 2 pairs)
  • Shirts
  • Peaked cap
  • Woollen hat or beanie - not a necessity
  • Nightwear
  • Light shoes for the evenings at the lodge
  • Trousers or track pants for the evenings at the lodge
  • Drinking water bottle

Should you get wet during the day, there are drying rooms at both the lodges so if you keep your gear lightweight and fast drying, it should dry overnight.

Equipment and Extras

You do not need any specialist equipment, however, you may like to include the following:

  • Insect repellent and sun block
  • Torch - not a necessity
  • Swiss Army Knife - for the boys in the group...
  • "Second skin" if you are prone to blisters
  • Your camera (extra film is a good idea)
  • The book you've been trying to read
  • Notepaper, pen, wallet, travel documents

Hollyford Track Guided Walk Supply

All meals, towels, linen, duvets, soap, shampoo, and hair-dryers.

Hollyford Track Guided Walk Can Supply if Required (at no extra cost)

Packs, hooded waterproof ponchos, rain jackets, gaiters.

Hollyford Track Guided Walk Accommodation

Sophisticated lodges with twin share rooms. The expert guides will ensure your group (maximum 16 people) experience New Zealand's wilderness at its best.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Beautiful, perfect trip!

    The Tui trip was a perfect way to see parts of New Zealand on a short time frame. I was concerned traveling by myself, and this trip was the perfect way to do it. Between the the most spectacular scenery, the knowledge of the guides, and the varied and incredible itinerary, this really was the trip of a lifetime for me.
    Rosie Stein Review Image
    – New York, United States
    Tui, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Exceeding expectations and more!

    We had been planning this trip for about a year and I had been dreaming about this trip for about 7 years, therefore the expectations were high. Active Adventures did an excellent job and our guides Kuru and Liana made this a trip of a lifetime. The most amazing part is that they always were one step ahead of planning the next meal, hike, bike or even maneuvering around the NZ wild weather. All the planning ahead and adjusting on the fly would normally turn a trip to be very stressful but we were able to sit back and relax (not literally because it was very active) and truly enjoy the beautiful landscape and everything NZ had to offer. Truly the trip of a lifetime!
    Ryan Hussey Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Tui, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)


    Travelling to New Zealand has been on my bucket list for nearly half my life, and I'm so glad I spent three weeks there with Active! I was a bit worried going by myself, but it turned out to be the best vacation of my life. They took us to so many spots that I probably would have never seen if I tried to organize everything on my own. It was great to have them feed me, drive me, hike me, and take me to our accommodations at night - not once did I have to worry about anything. The accommodations themselves were so fun and unique, staying in them was a highlight of my trip. Our guides, Kim and Ashleigh, were fantastic young ladies. Ash was an amazing chef and Kim rocked the in-bus narration. I also think we had a phenomenal group of people who clicked very well, and absolutely the best weather one could wish for.

    Even when there were a few changes to the itinerary due to road damages, weather issues, or anything else, the guides were on top of it so fast that we barely even noticed there was a problem. We did miss out on snorkeling with the fur seals, and our Franz Josef Heli-Hike was cancelled, but we were still able to see seals and take a helicopter ride to a glacier at another time. No loss whatsoever.

    I'm a fairly active person under thirty, who lives in an mountainous region, and I was still challenged by the hikes and activities they provided. I also have bad knees, and was still able to get up and down the more difficult mountains. For those wondering abut the multi-day hike, it's definitely a work-out, but totally worth it! And be sure to invest in a hydration bladder, you'll really appreciate it! If you're looking for an outdoor adventure with lots of activity and fun, this is definitely one of the better ways to explore New Zealand.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Rimu, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Trip of a Lifetime!

    This was such an amazing trip! Our guides Ash and Astrid did a fantastic job. Everyday was met with amazing views and challenging activities like kayaking, biking and hiking. Two weeks felt like a month because we did so much in one day but there was still some down time to enjoy the beauty that is New Zealand. A must for anyone who wants to be active in New Zealand.
    Kilo Piedra Review Image
    – California, United States
    Rimu, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Best family trip ever. The South Island of New Zealand is one of the most spectacular places on the planet and the Rimu trip takes you to all the highlights. Our group hit the jackpot with Koru and Ash. They were fabulous. This trip gets my highest recommendation all around.
    Hank Nayden Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, January 2017



Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

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Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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