Hollyford Track Day Hikes
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
- Jamestown to Martins Bay Lodge.
Hollyford Track Day Walk Map:
Which trips include the Hollyford Track day walks?
Elegant South – 11 days, Nelson 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.
As soon as our helicopter lands at Martins Bay we’ll enjoy 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 waved goodbye to our lodge hosts (for now!), we’ll board a jet boat on the Hollyford River and travel up Lake McKerrow, disembarking at Jamestown, where our morning walk begins. The unspoiled beech forest, well maintained tracks, and endless birdsong make the walk the perfect tonic – whether you’re escaping a busy working life back home, or enjoying new experiences in retirement. We’ll arrive back at Martins Bay Lodge to enjoy an indulgent morning tea with our hosts, before boarding our helicopter back to Milford Sound. We’ll arrive at the bus having exercised, explored, and eaten, and we’ll be elated at the exclusivity of our tailored Hollyford experience.
3 years ago
This was fantastic getting out in the outbacks. Our guide Ellie was amazing she knew so much about the Trees, Birds, Tracks etc. We were so lucky to have her as our guide. This was fantastic getting out in the outbacks. Our guide Ellie was amazing she knew so much about the Trees, Birds, Tracks etc.<br />
We were so lucky to have her as our guide. Because I was the oldest there (79) she made sure I was ok for the steep part of the tracks.<br />
Not only was she great as a guide but also great driver and cook. She knew all the restaurants to go to for great meals. To have her come along on most walks and boat trip was a great help .read more
3 years ago
We were so looked after by Ellie: she treated us like her own family. The best thing of this holiday was that I didn't need to do any organisation, it was all managed so well. We were so looked after by Ellie: she treated us like her own family.<br />
The best thing of this holiday was that I didn't need to do any organisation, it was all managed so well. We seemed to get the best places to stay, the best restaurants to go to, even the best 'home cooked' meals.read more
3 years ago
This was our 2nd visit to New Zealand. The first, in 2001, was a month long self driven tour of both islands with emphasis on the South and included taking the full escorted Milford Track adventure. It was the lifetime trip, at that time. This Active Adventure trip outdid it. And the reason is the tour guides and the truly magnificent job they did in following the Active Adventure plan and in making seamless changes to it as required by weather and other problems along the way. Clare and Emma were there every day in every way necessary to the success of the trip. Wonderful.......read more
3 years ago
Ms. Holly and Ms. Claire were the guides of a lifetime. They made all the difference between an okay trip and very eventful. Ms. Holly and Ms. Claire were the guides of a lifetime. They made all the difference between an okay trip and very eventful.read more
4 years ago
This was a bucket list trip for us, and it was wonderful! A great overview of both islands. Well planned, great food, good accommodations & wonderful guides. This was a bucket list trip for us, and it was wonderful! A great overview of both islands. Well planned, great food, good accommodations & wonderful guides.read more
4 years ago
This trip was above and beyond anything we imagined. The personal contact that continued from the first moment of booking to each day of our trip was very helpful. Our questions were answered before we could think of them in the kindest possible way. This trip was above and beyond anything we imagined. The personal contact that continued from the first moment of booking to each day of our trip was very helpful. Our questions were answered before we could think of them in the kindest possible way. We were treated like honored family by our guides (hosts), Holly and Claire. They completely tailored the trip to our needs and desires on a day to day basis, as necessary. As amazing as the natural beauty of NZ is, the people we met through Active Adventures were even more so!read more
4 years ago
I have long wanted to visit the Fiordland/Southland area. My AA trip gave me a great overview of it. A great mix of food, wine, fun, and fitness. Thanks. read more
4 years ago
New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country and we experienced many of the highlights of the south island. The tour guides, Clare and Emma, were fantastic in every way and ensured a terrific experience. New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country and we experienced many of the highlights of the south island. The tour guides, Clare and Emma, were fantastic in every way and ensured a terrific experience. The views of Kaikoura Peninsula and Lake Wakatipu and Milford Sound will be engrained in my head forever. The hiking was great and the food was delish throughout the trip. I highly recommend this trip!read more
4 years ago
A trip to expand your mind meeting challenges and wonderful new people
in a gorgeous country while eating great food! A trip to expand your mind meeting challenges and wonderful new people<br />
in a gorgeous country while eating great food!read more
4 years ago
This was a lovely tour with many especially high quality amenities such as the superior guides, Ellie and Lauren, the extraordinary meals, great wine and quality adventures. Because of an extreme weather event we were unable to follow our original itinerary but great efforts were made to include equal quality activities. The luxury of this tour is not in the hotels or transportation but in the personal attention from the guides and quality food and drink.read more