2 current alerts for the Hollyford Track Read details...

11 March 2015: Battle for our Birds Lower Hollyford

A pest control operation (part of Battle for our Birds) from the Pyke/Hollyford Junction to the Coast (lower Hollyford) took place on 5 November 2014. Follow precautions indicated by signage until further notice. Get more information about this operation

11 March 2015: Hollyford Track alerts
  • 3 wire bridge has been damaged by windfall and removed, at Mt Webb near Hokuri Hut. A temporary track is marked through the stream. In heavy rain this may become impassable
  • A big windfall on Little Homer Saddle, takes 20 minutes to get past

Introduction

The Hollyford Track is a fantastic 4-8 day Fiordland tramp from the mountains to the sea at Martins Bay, and can be walked all year round.

Highlights

The Hollyford Track is a fantastic tramping adventure for those who like to be a little off the beaten track, but still have a good track and huts to stay in. 

Beginning among the sheer rock walls of the Darran Mountains in Fiordland National Park, the track follows the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Kā Tuka on its journey to the sea at Martins Bay, on the wild West Coast.

With no alpine sections this track is rarely cut off by snow so you can tramp it in any season (depending on weather).

The first part of the track offers a great overnight option for families or those with limited time.

Track overview

56 km

Walking and tramping

4 - 5 days Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track

Highlights

A journey from mountains to the sea

Scenic Hollyford River/ Whakatipu Kā Tuka. Photo copyright: Michael Dawes.
Scenic Hollyford River/ Whakatipu Kā Tuka

The Hollyford Track gives you a fantastic all round experience of Fiordland National Park.

You begin at the most impressive Fiordland terrain in the Darran Mountains area, and tramp for 4-5 days down the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Kā Tuka to the sea at Martins Bay.

You will walk through lush forest, beside a mighty river, alongside beautiful lakes then out to the wild West Coast.

A tramp you can do any time of year

With no alpine sections, this track is rarely cut off by snow so you can tramp it in any season (depending on weather).

Even in the rain this valley is still lovely for day walks or tramping, unlike walks in exposed alpine areas (however flooding can sometimes affect the track so check conditions before you go). 

Great track and hut facilities

The Hollyford Track has excellent, comfortable huts and a good track, but is still a backcountry experience in Fiordland National Park.

It’s a good trip for you if you are fit, and like being a little off the beaten track, but still want a good, well marked track and huts to stay in.

See coastal wildlife

Nearing the coast, you may be lucky enough to see native wildlife, including NZ fur seals, penguins, herons, and occasionally dolphins.

Many activities and adventures

Other activities in the Hollyford Track area include day walks, guided walks (day or multi-day), climbing, trout fishing, deer hunting and kayaking.  

Also, if you are a skilled and experienced tramper you may like to extend your adventure to include the challenging Pyke – Big Bay Route.

Description

The Hollyford Track starts at the end of Lower Hollyford Road, off SH 94 - Milford Road, and ends at Martins Bay.

Tramping adventure on beautiful Hollyford Track. Photo: Mihoko Wada.
Tramping adventure on beautiful Hollyford Track

The track is suitable for people with good fitness and takes 4 days one way. You can return on the same track or arrange transport from Martins Bay. 

Very skilled and experienced trampers may choose to return via the challenging Pyke - Big Bay Route.

Huts and campsites

You can stay at one of 6 DOC backcountry huts, or you can camp next to the huts.

Each hut has heating, mattresses and a pit toilet. There are no cooking facilities so you will need a portable stove.

Maps

The following Topo50 series map sheets cover the Hollyford Track:

  • Topo50 Map CB09 - Hollyford Track
  • Topo50 Map CA09 - Alabaster Pass
  • Topo50 Map CA08 - Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.

Useful tips

The track is reasonably well marked, but you need to know that:

  • some sections of the track are rough and muddy and not well defined - orange markers will guide the way
  • there may be unbridged stream and river crossings
  • there are a number of three-wire bridges on the Demon Trail section
  • some parts of the track are prone to flooding in wet weather - see know before you go.

Descriptions

Lower Hollyford Road to Hidden Falls Hut, 2-3 hr, 9 km
Cross the swing bridge over Humboldt Creek and follow the old road to the start of the track, which initially sidles along bluffs, with swampland to the left. Sections of raised boardwalk cross areas prone to flooding.

Where Swamp Creek joins the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Kā Tuka, the track follows the river bank, with occasional views of the Darran Mountains.

Happy at Little Homer Saddle, Hollyford Track.
Happy at Little Homer Saddle, Hollyford Track

At Hidden Falls Creek the track passes Sunshine Hut (private hut) then continues upstream to a swingbridge.

Hidden Falls Hut (12 bunks) is about 15 minutes on from here.

Hidden Falls Hut to Lake Alabaster Hut, 3-4 hr, 10.5 km
The track passes through a section of lowland ribbonwood/ podocarp forest draped with colourful mosses and ferns.

It then enters tall beech forest before the climb to Little Homer Saddle, with views of Mt Madeline and Fiordland’s highest mountain, Mt Tutoko (2723 m).

The track descends to Little Homer Falls (60 m) and continues to the Hollyford/Pyke Rivers confluence. Beyond this is Pyke River Lodge (private) and 15 minutes further on is Lake Alabaster Hut.

Hidden Falls Hut

Lake Alabaster Hut

Lake Alabaster Hut to McKerrow Island Hut, 3-4 hr, 10.5 km
This section of the track is maintained to a much lower standard than the Lower Hollyford Road end to Lake Alabaster section.

Use the orange markers on the trees to guide you. It can be muddy, rocky and wet underfoot. Tree falls may obscure the track.

Be aware that after heavy rain the river can flood and you may be stranded in the hut until river levels are lower and it is safe to cross. Back track from the hut for 15 minutes and cross the Pyke River swing bridge.

After two hours of relatively level track, the track meets the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Kā Tuka again. Some long sections of mud will be encountered. A further hour’s walk leads to McKerrow Island.

For access to the hut, cross the flood channel above its entry to Lake McKerrow/Whakatipu Waitai.

McKerrow Island Hut

Demon Trail

McKerrow Island Hut to Demon Trail Hut, 1.5 hr, 4.2 km
Demon Trail Hut to Hokuri Hut, 5-6 hr, 9.6 km
Demon Trail is a historical cattle track. This section is both rocky and undulating but there are long sections of formed, flat track in between. It can be difficult underfoot in wet weather, with the track becoming slippery and with loose rocks.

Some of the creek crossings can be dangerous, so extreme care is required - using the three wire bridges is recommended. After heavy rain some creeks may be impassable.

Demon Trail Hut

Hokuri Hut

Hokuri Hut to Martins Bay Hut, 4-5 hr, 13 km
Thirty minutes walk from Hokuri Hut is Hokuri Creek. In low river conditions cross near the creek mouth, otherwise use the three-wire crossing 20 minutes upstream.

Follow the lake shore past the bay where the settlement of Jamestown once stood.

After a further 1.5 - 2 hour's walk, the track leaves the lake and continues for another hour to the Hollyford Airstrip and Martins Bay Lodge (private).

Martins Bay Hut, situated at the mouth of the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Ka Tuka, is a further 1.5 - 2 hours from Martins Bay Lodge. Take care when crossing Jerusalem Creek as it is prone to flooding after rain.

Martins Bay Hut

There is also another airstrip and private batches in this area.

The track continues on to Long Reef through wind-shorn forest and provides views of the river mouth and sand spit. From July to November, seals and Fiordland crested penguins/tawaki can be seen around the coast close by.

Beyond Long Reef, the track becomes the Pyke - Big Bay Route. This route is not as well defined and suitable only for well-equipped and experienced trampers.

Know before you go

Getting there

The Hollyford Track starts at the end of Lower Hollyford Road.

To find the Hollyford Road, turn off from the Milford Road (SH94) at Marian Corner, a few minutes towards Milford Sound from The Divide.

Marian Corner is about 87 km along the Milford Road from Te Anau.

Allow 2 hours to drive from Te Anau to the end of the Hollyford Road.

Take the right gear for your tramp.
Take the right gear for your tramp

A number of companies offer an on demand service from Te Anau to Hollyford Road end or Gunn's Camp, as well as an option for transport across Lake McKerrow in the summer months (one way). See Transport services in Fiordland.

Safety

Plan carefully for your trip and make sure your party has a leader who is experienced in bush craft and survival skills.

  • We strongly recommend that you carry a Personal Locator Beacon or a Mountain Radio, and topographical maps for navigation (Topo50 series map sheets CB09 - Hollyford Track, CB09 - Alabaster Pass and CA08 - Milford Sound/Piopiotahi).
  • Sections of the track can become impassable after heavy rain, especially the Demon Trail area, and the Jerusalem River between Hokuri and Martin’s Bay huts.
  • Take care with 3-wire bridges and river crossings. If in doubt, sit it out.
  • Hokuri Creek is bridged but if you choose to cross it, note that it looks tame but is disconcertingly swift.
  • You will need to allow food, time and gear (e.g. survival bag) for possible delays due to weather or flooding.
  • Stay on the tracks. If you become lost - stop, find shelter, stay calm and wait for searchers to find you.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Contacts

Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 249 7924
Address:   Fiordland National Park
Visitor Centre
Lakefront Drive
Te Anau 9600
Email:   fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
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