Step into the dramatic Hollyford Valley and enter a world that looks the same today as it did thousands of years ago.
Follow the Hollyford River on its journey to the sea. The sheer rock walls of the Darran Mountains are visible for much of the walk gradually blending into lower hills around two beautiful lakes - Alabaster and McKerrow. On the way you will see Fiordland's two highest peaks, Mount Tutoko (2746 metres) and Mount Madeline (2537 metres), as well as the roaring cascade of Hidden Falls which emerges from a hanging valley through a narrow chasm of granite.
Walk through a variety of vegetation including silver beech, kamahi, kahikatea, matal and rimu trees. The area is also home to many small birds like the tomtit, robin and bellbird.
The adventure begins. An easy first day - sidle along bluffs, cross boardwalks, and meander over swingbridges. Catch occassional glimpses of the Darren Mountains. Pass by Sunshine Hut before completing the final leg to the 12 bunk Hidden Falls Hut.
The track passes through lowland ribbonwood/podocarp forest before entering tall beech forest as it ascends to Little Homer Saddle. Here you can experience views of Mt Madeline and Mt Tutoko (Fiordland's highest mountain) before climbing back down to Little Homer Falls. The track continues past the Pyke/Hollyford river confluence, and the Pyke River Lodge, before reaching Lake Alabaster Hut.
Back track from the hut for 15 minutes and cross at the Pyke River swing bridge. On this leg, you can also choose to continue walking for approximately an hour to McKerrow Island Hut. Staying on the main track leads you to Demon Trail Hut.
Follow the historic Demon Trail cattle track along the edge of Lake McKerrow/Wakatipu Waitia. This section of the track can be prone to flooding after heavy rain. Caution is required and use of the 3 wire bridges is recommended.
Follow the lake shore past the bay to an area of apple trees and rose bushes - this marks the historic settlement of Jamestown. 1.5 - 2 hours from here the track leaves the lake edge and continues to the Hollyford Airstrip and Martins Bay Lodge. Approximately 2 hours later you will arrive at the Hollyford River/Whakatipu Ka Tuka mouth, home to Martins Bay Hut.
There are 6 backcountry huts along the track managed by DOC - you can also camp next to the huts. To find out more about these, visit the DOC website.
The closest town to the start location is Te Anau so it's best to stay there. You might stay in Te Anau at the end of your trip too. Take a look at some places to stay here.
A number of specialist tour operators can aid in bringing your walking experience to life. Take a look at these businesses to find out if a walking tour is right for you.