Hike The Hollyford Track
The Hollyford Track start point is around 20 minutes’ drive from Milford Sound; the track is most commonly walked from East to West, and follows the Hollyford River on its journey to the Tasman Sea on New Zealand’s West Coast. It’s a less popular walking track than the Milford or Routeburn Track, and therefore is a more remote and raw wilderness experience for many. Your expert nature guide will point out interesting (and sometimes edible!) flora, and talk about the local wildlife too.
The Hollyford Track at a glance:
- Starts at the Lower Hollyford Road end near Milford Sound, and ends at Martins Bay on the West Coast.
- 56km long (34.8 miles) A to B track.
- Typically takes four to five days to complete.
What we’ll do:
- Martins Bay Lodge to Long Reef Point Seal and Penguin Colony
- Pyke Lodge to Hollyford Road End
Hollyford Track Day Walk Map:
Which trips include the Hollyford Track day walks?
Elegant South – 10 days, Blenheim to Queenstown.
Where is the Hollyford Track?
The Hollyford Track is in Fiordland National Park; the track starts at the Lower Hollyford Road end, around 20 minutes drive from Milford Sound itself. Unlike other A to B walks, and particularly Great Walks that are A to B tracks, the end point of the Hollyford Track, on the West Coast at Martins Bay, is not a serviced pickup point. Whilst that might seem, on the surface, to be very inconvenient, it allows the Hollyford Track to remain rugged, and isolated, and feel mysteriously ancient as you walk amongst its beech forest.
The Hollyford River flows out to the Tasman Sea at Martins Bay, the track’s end point, and close by is the New Zealand fur seal colony at Long Reef Point. You can also see Fiordland crested penguins in the area at the right time of year, and the area’s isolation only makes this experience all the more special.
What’s so special about the Hollyford Track?
The Hollyford Track is just as beautiful as the Great Walks in the area, it has pristine beech forest, giant lakes, striking blue rivers, and extensive bird life. Another attractive trait of the Hollyford Track is its lack of any tough changes in elevation. The highest point of the track is Little Homer Saddle at 168m above sea level – in comparison to the Milford, Routeburn, or Kepler, the popular Great Walks in the area, this makes the Hollyford a far more attractive proposition for those not looking for a particularly physically demanding hiking route.
Our Hollyford Track experience is unique in that we’ll take a spectacular helicopter flight into Martins Bay, the traditional end point of the track, and explore the West Coast, before jet boating along Lake McKerrow, and walking up the Hollyford Valley to the Hollyford Road end, where we’ll be reunited with our bus – so once the helicopter lands at Martins Bay, the exploring begins!
First, we’ll grab some lunch in a big safari-style tent, then grab our water bottles and a warm layer from our bags and leave the rest behind (they’ll be transferred to our accommodation for us!). We’ll set out for a walk to Long Reef Point where we’ll observe a colony of New Zealand fur seals, and at the right time of year, Fiordland crested penguins. It’s amazing to see these creatures in their natural environment, and with nobody but our group around!
When we arrive at Martins Bay Lodge prepare to be amazed. The beautiful lodge is as secluded as it gets, and is home to our lodge hosts for the evening. The comfortable sofas of the living area give views through the giant windows to the lawn, and beyond, to the banks of the Hollyford River. It’s the perfect setting for a glass of wine and a pre-dinner cheeseboard. After a delicious meal cooked by your lodge hosts, we’ll sleep in our cosy lodge rooms, and awake ready for another day of exploring the wilderness.
In the morning, having eaten breakfast and said goodbye to our lodge hosts, we’ll board a jet boat on the Hollyford River and travel up Lake McKerrow, disembarking at Pyke Lodge, where our day’s walking begins. The unspoiled beech forest, well maintained tracks, and endless birdsong make today’s walk the perfect tonic – whether you’re escaping a busy working life back home, or enjoying new experiences in retirement. We’ll arrive at the road end tired, but elated, and climb onto the bus ready for a snooze as we’re whisked off to our next destination.
Guide Miki talking about the flora of the Hollyford Track
The night sky and Martins Bay Lodge
Arriving at Martins Bay Lodge and meeting our lodge hosts.
The traditional start point of the Hollyford Track, at Hollyford Road End.