A great guided walk through Fiordland

The Hollyford Track guided walk for 3 days and 2 nights in Fiordland. A life changing experience.

Early this year a friend called and invited me and my partner to join them on the Hollyford Track guided walk in Fiordland.  While not officially listed as a ‘Great walk’ it certainly has history that few can match and covers such a distance and changing scenery so I was in!

The first day from Queenstown via Te Anau to the start of the track was an early wake up and staying in Te Anau is definitely an option to consider as it will make for a far more enjoyable breakfast.  The first days walk follows the Hollyford river downstream though beech forests.  What really surprised me right from the start was the personality and depth of knowledge that Graham the head guide shared.  What plants to eat and why, early Māori legends and stories around the forest showed how they had learnt to adapt and then there was Davey Gunn! 

Davey was a man who did without for years while trying to make the Hollyford a payable farm and began guiding tourists in the 1930’s as part of his many schemes.  A very hard man no doubt and the stories reinforce how challenging the Fiordland valley can be.  The truth of this is in the fact that his beloved rivers eventually claimed him, swept away when his horse stumbled in a ford. 

Arriving at the private Pyke Lodge that evening to be greeted by our hosts Brydie and Corrin with hot muffins and drinks set the expectation for the service we would receive throughout our sojourn in the valley.   Hot showers and a worthy repast completed the evening! 

The next two days we walked calm bush fringed lakes, then jet boated down the inland lake to the doomed settlement of Jamestown.  A testament to the folly of land speculators that’s probably as relevant now as it was then.  From there wander the coastal podocarp forest, learning more about the land, vegetation and pioneering efforts that have been undertane in this remote area. 

Staying at Martins Bay Lodge and another healthy dose of amazing service, food and wine and on out to the beach.  There possibly my most memorable moment as beside the prepared paths of a Māori village Graham recounted the legend of the dune grass.  Running to her lover in the sea from her mother, in the forest.  Doomed now to wait between the two.  Can I remember the names and detail – most certainly not.  However the tale itself was a work of art. 

Flying out on the third afternoon over the sea and into Milford Sound I can only recount that the walking trip I signed up for was so much more.  It was an easy walk, as well suited to those who play golf and walk their pets at Devonport as anyone, making it very achievable.  And we covered some ground because interspersed with walking was jet boats and helicopters.  You cover a lot of country.  And it was an environmental and human interest story.  Behind those trees there are some tales!  And most surprising of all it was outstanding service throughout. 

Early this year a friend called and invited me and my partner to join them on the Hollyford Track guided walk in Fiordland.  While not officially listed as a ‘Great walk’ it certainly has history that few can match and covers such a distance and changing scenery so I was in!

The first day from Queenstown via Te Anau to the start of the track was an early wake up and staying in Te Anau is definitely an option to consider as it will make for a far more enjoyable breakfast.  The first days walk follows the Hollyford river downstream though beech forests.  What really surprised me right from the start was the personality and depth of knowledge that Graham the head guide shared.  What plants to eat and why, early Māori legends and stories around the forest showed how they had learnt to adapt and then there was Davey Gunn! 

Davey was a man who did without for years while trying to make the Hollyford a payable farm and began guiding tourists in the 1930’s as part of his many schemes.  A very hard man no doubt and the stories reinforce how challenging the Fiordland valley can be.  The truth of this is in the fact that his beloved rivers eventually claimed him, swept away when his horse stumbled in a ford. 

Arriving at the private Pyke Lodge that evening to be greeted by our hosts Brydie and Corrin with hot muffins and drinks set the expectation for the service we would receive throughout our sojourn in the valley.   Hot showers and a worthy repast completed the evening! 

The next two days we walked calm bush fringed lakes, then jet boated down the inland lake to the doomed settlement of Jamestown.  A testament to the folly of land speculators that’s probably as relevant now as it was then.  From there wander the coastal podocarp forest, learning more about the land, vegetation and pioneering efforts that have been undertane in this remote area. 

Staying at Martins Bay Lodge and another healthy dose of amazing service, food and wine and on out to the beach.  There possibly my most memorable moment as beside the prepared paths of a Māori village Graham recounted the legend of the dune grass.  Running to her lover in the sea from her mother, in the forest.  Doomed now to wait between the two.  Can I remember the names and detail – most certainly not.  However the tale itself was a work of art. 

Flying out on the third afternoon over the sea and into Milford Sound I can only recount that the walking trip I signed up for was so much more.  It was an easy walk, as well suited to those who play golf and walk their pets at Devonport as anyone, making it very achievable.  And we covered some ground because interspersed with walking was jet boats and helicopters.  You cover a lot of country.  And it was an environmental and human interest story.  Behind those trees there are some tales!  And most surprising of all it was outstanding service throughout. 

 

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