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The Hollyford Road

Lake Marian Track

Lake Marian Trestle
Lake Marian

Coordinates: -44.808020 168.103130

The Lake Marian track starts 1 km down the Hollyford road with an entertaining swing bridge over the Hollyford River. Within 10 minutes the track reaches the steep and fast flowing Marian Creek, ascends close to the rushing water on a trestle, and then climbs steeply away from the creek until Lake Marian.

It is a short worthwhile walk to see the trestle and approximately 90 minutes of strenuous uphill walking and 2.4km through fascinating alpine forest to Lake Marian.

There is a DOC toilet on the track close to Lake Marian.

Lake Marian has a subterranean outlet and may be one of the most peaceful places accessible from the Milford Road. Looking up the valley the Peak to the left is Mt Crosscut, to the right is Mt Gunn and at the head of the valley are Marian and Sabre Peaks.

If you have time and the legs for more, it is possible to continue up the valley to 22m Lyttle Falls, below Sabre Peak. Please note, during winter and spring the sides of Lake Marian and the upper valley beyond the lake are exposed to severe avalanche risk.

Pass Creek

Hollyford Museum

Coordinates: -44.793630 168.127620

This track was cut by students during the summer of 1914-15 from Lake Howden on the Routeburn Track down to the Hollyford River, linking Lake Wakatipu with the Hollyford and eventually Milford Sound via the Grave-Talbot Pass. It preceded, and parts of it became, the Milford Road.

Student track builders named this section of their track 'Lippe's Mistake' after their humourless supervisor. There are 36 switchbacks and it includes one section they called 'Concentrated Hades'.

This is a very difficult and seldom used track, suitable for experienced tramping parties only.

Gunn's Camp

Hollyford Museum

Coordinates: -44.760410 168.139558

8km down the Lower Hollyford road is Davey Gunn's Camp, now run by a charitable trust. There is a museum, small shop and accommodation year round. Cabins, bunk rooms, tent sites and camper van facilities.

Highly recommended, for insight into the resourceful Kiwi battlers who made Fiordland their home.

Deadman's Track

Moraine Creek

Coordinates: -44.753510 168.139620

This very difficult track starts near Gunn's Camp and reaches the Routeburn Track close to the Harris Saddle. The track gains more than 1000m in 3 km and is a 5 hour hike on a good day. During wet weather Deadman's Track is likely to be cut by an unfordable river.

Moraine Creek

Moraine Creek

Coordinates: -44.700550 168.123180

When explorer Bill Grave was investigating a route between the Wakatipu and Milford Sound, he consulted long time Milford Sound resident Donald Sutherland who mentioned an easy pass in the Donne Valley, however his hand drawn map proved wrong and Grave never found Sutherland's pass. Instead he settled on the challenging Grave-Talbot Pass. However, there is a relatively easy pass between the Donne and Moraine Creek called Darran Pass first crossed in 1955. In retrospect it may have been a better route for the Milford Road which was already built and officially opened to traffic in 1953.

Moraine Creek drains Lake Adelaide and is the second largest tributary of the Hollyford River. The track starts with a bouncy swing bridge and in 20 minutes crosses to the true left (North) bank of Moraine Creek by one of Fiordland's fantastic walk wire bridges. Beyond this point the track is subject to severe avalanche risk in the winter and spring. When there is no avalanche danger, the site of the old Moraine Creek Hut can be reached in 5 hours.

This is not an easy hike for the unprepared, but if it falls within your skill set, this may be one of the most rewarding overnight camping options in the area. Route finding skills and extensive experience is required to reach Lake Adelaide and the climbing options beyond. See Moir's Guide available from the Te Anau DOC Visitor Centre.

Humboldt Falls

Humboldt Falls

Coordinates: -44.693380 168.125030

The 1.2km uphill track to the Humboldt Falls Lookout is a very well maintained, benched, great walk standard superhighway. The small creeks are all bridged and there is not much chance of getting muddy feet on the 30-45 minute round trip. The lookout provides a distant and elevated perspective of the 275 meter Humboldt Falls.

In the summer, provided the river is low and weather is dry, grab your swimming togs, cross Humboldt Creek using the bridge at the start of the Hollyford Track and rock hop your way 30 minutes up Humboldt Creek for a unique experience.

Hollyford Track

Hollyford Track

Coordinates: -44.692770 168.126390

The 56 kilometer, 4-5 day Hollyford Track starts at the terminus of the Hollyford Road and ends at remote Martins Bay. You will need to arrange transport out of Martins Bay, turn around and walk back, or continue North to Big Bay and loop back to the Hollyford Track via the Pyke River and Lake Alabaster.

The Hollyford Track can be walked all year, it is well served by huts and it is not a great walk so can be done for the price of hut tickets. For the intrepid traveller with a little time, the Hollyford Track should be at the top of the list.

Ngai Tahu Tourism offers a 3 day guided walk experience including a jet boat ride, helicopter and transfers on the Hollyford Track.

Tracknet offer bus transport to the trail head Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the summer.

Milford Helicopters can collect you from Martins Bay.

Pyke-Big Bay Route

Suitable for experienced and well prepared trampers only. From Martins Bay the Pyke-Big Bay route continues North and then follows the Pyke River back to Lake Alabaster Hut 20km along from the start of the Hollyford Track. There are 2 huts between Martins Bay and Lake Alabaster.

The full Hollyford, Pyke-Big Bay Circuit is 88 km and typically takes 8 days. The route includes some river crossings that may be impassable in wet weather.