Hiking in an Untouched Wilderness: The Hollyford Valley

Step back in time when you explore the dramatic Hollyford Valley, a remote wilderness that’s remained untouched for thousands of years.

This unique part of New Zealand showcases the very best of what Mother Nature has to offer. Here, roaring waterfalls tumble down to meet mirror-like lakes and dramatic mountains soar into the sky. The diversity of the forest and wildlife is truly unique – 1000-year old rimu trees stand sentinel over the forest canopy and perfect, intricate ferns grow in ancient Beech forest.

Thought to be New Zealand’s most spectacular wilderness valley, we recommend exploring this area in a combination of ways. A scenic flight showcases the drama of the region’s mighty mountains, fiords and lakes from the air; while a jet boat ride on the swift, clear waters of the Hollyford River gives an entirely different perspective. Exploring portions of the valley on foot lets you soak up its magical grandeur up-close, allowing you to encounter seal colonies, spectacular waterfalls and lush, emerald-green forests. See if you can catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin with their bright yellow eyebrows and orange beaks.      

The Hollyford Valley is one of the highlights in our New Zealand walking tours.  We help visitors to experience the most spectacular places the area has to offer, creating unforgettable memories of the beauty of the New Zealand wilderness.

Here’s a taste of the Hollyford Valley experience in the New Zealand Trails tour.

From the air

Flying across the Hollyford Valley in a helicopter, you’ll get a birds’ eye view of the dramatic wilderness that awaits below. The chopper lands in remote Martin’s Bay, an area used by early Maori to transport greenstone. Take an afternoon hike to the Martin’s Bay Fur Seal Colony where you can view these cheeky animals at close quarters in the wild.

Soak up the magic of the day

That night, reflect on the beauty of the places you’ve seen with a comfortable stay at Martin’s Bay Lodge. Spend the evening relaxing in front of a roaring fire, enjoying delicious, locally sourced food and wine. 

Explore by boat and on foot

Start today’s adventure with a jet boat ride across Lake McKerrow before exploring the Hollyford Valley on foot with a day hike. This flat, 6-hour walk winds through the World Heritage-listed forest wilderness, where you’ll stop frequently to marvel at crimson southern rata trees, magical waterfalls and soft emerald moss. The forest here rings with the melody of birdlife – the songs of the tui and the bellbird are the prettiest, serenading you through the days’ walk. That night you’ll stay in Te Anau before heading to Queenstown the next day.

With a New Zealand Trails tour, you’ll experience not only the best of the Hollyford Valley, but also many other spectacular parts of New Zealand. Our 11 or 13-day tours incorporate day hikes on the Milford and Routeburn tracks, walks in the stunning National Parks of Arthur’s Pass and Mount Cook as well as iconic New Zealand activities. What’s more, you’ll enjoy 4 to 5 star accommodation and gourmet food & wine experiences. Inspired? Contact us now or find out more on our website.

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