From Mountains to Sea in Fiordland National Park


The famed Hollyford Track brings you through one of New Zealand’s most magnificent landscapes, Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Site. Beginning in the Darran Mountains, the trail runs from the base of the Southern Alps all the way to the Tasman Sea and crosses a wide variety of terrain with an interesting historical context. Stepping into the dramatic glacier-carved Hollyford Valley is like entering a world that’s remained largely unchanged for thousands  of years. In three superb days of hiking, enjoy a panorama of mirror-like lakes, spectacular waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, ancient beech forest, sand dunes and surf, and plentiful bird life—all beneath the snow-capped Darran Mountains. Besides the hike, the journey includes a jet boat ride down the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow, and a scenic flight out to Milford Sound. Along the way, friendly Hollyford Track guides enhance the journey with environmental interpretation. At the end of each day, enjoy the camaraderie of a warm mountain lodge and a delicious dinner. Just because the Hollyford Track is in the rugged wilderness of Fiordland doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the comforts of home!

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Hollyford Track to Pyke River Lodge

After meeting your guide, drive through the majestic Eglinton Valley with a stop at Gunn’s Camp Museum, exhibiting artifacts of this former public works camp of the 1930s. Arrive at the trailhead in the Hollyford Valley, don your pack, and begin hiking the Hollyford Track! As you retrace the footsteps of early explorers along the Hollyford River, you follow a trail that undulates gently through native beech forest and beside tumbling waterfalls, all the while enjoying interesting historical tales and interpretation of the forest and bird life from your expert guides. At the end of the day you arrive at Pyke River Lodge, located at the confluence of the Hollyford and Pyke Rivers. After a delicious and much-deserved three-course dinner prepared by your lodge hosts, visit a nearby glow-worm colony and offer some of your dinner leftovers to the eels who stop in the Pyke River before migrating on to Tonga. Overnight at Pyke River Lodge...BLD
Approximate Hiking Time: 5-7 hours (12 miles)

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Day 2
Jet Boat Journey / Martins Bay Lodge

Begin the day with a short walk to Lake Alabaster, whose glassy waters reflect images of the surrounding snowy peaks. After learning about the history and geology of the area, cross a swing bridge over the Pyke River, then enjoy a thrilling jet boat journey down the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow to the historic site of Jamestown. In the late 19th century, the settlement of Jamestown was intended to be the capital of New Zealand’s South Island, but due to geographic inhospitality, nothing but three apple tree trunks remain from the high hopes of those early settlers. From here you walk through the ancient podocarpus forest (New Zealand native pines) and see towering rimu, totara, and kahikatea trees wreathed in massive rata vines. Emerging on the coast, visit the fur seal colony at Long Reef and have a chance to see the rare Fiordland crested penguin, a seasonal visitor. Overnight at Martins Bay Lodge, set near the mouth of the Hollyford River...BLD
Approximate Hiking Time: 4-5 hours (9 miles), with a 12-mile journey by jet boat

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Day 3
Martins Bay Beach / Scenic Flight / Queenstown

After another hearty breakfast, board the jet boat and travel to the coast, where you explore the sand dunes and lagoons of four-mile-long Martins Bay Beach, beach-combing and learning about its intriguing history, plant life, and resident birds. Return to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch, then board your aircraft for a scenic flight along the rugged coast and over spectacular Milford Sound. This flight grants you the opposite perspective of your earlier views of the Sound, the Hollyford Valley, and Mt. Tutoko, Fiordland’s highest peak. From Milford, transfer to Queenstown, arriving by 7:30 pm. Dinner on your own tonight in one of Queenstown’s many choice restaurants. Overnight at hotel...BL
Approximate Hiking Time: 4-5 hours (5 miles)

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Day 4

This morning you may have time for a quiet stroll along the lake or some last-minute shopping before you transfer to the Queenstown Airport for departure...B


Length: 4 days
Cost From: $2095  
Arrive: Queenstown, New Zealand
Depart: Queenstown, New Zealand
Lodging: 2 nights lodges, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

3 days hiking, jet boat ride

Visa Requirements

A visa is not required for U.S. citizens visting New Zealand.