The Hollyford Pyke Expedition 150km pure wilderness to the end of the world and back.
Packraft THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPedition
Packraft the Hollyford Pyke loop expedition combines our Packrafting 2 day beginner course and 5 days of pure wilderness around the famous Hollyford Pyke Loop. This is arguably the Holy Grail of New Zealand packrafting and once in a lifetime trip. Giving you access to an area normally only visited by very experienced backcountry travelers. While the expedition is a tremendously rewarding adventure, it is not for the meek. Fiordland weather is unpredictable, and the days are relatively rigorous, because the setting is very nearly at the end of the world. But for those up for the challenge, it offers unparalleled opportunities to escape the day to and immerse yourself in the wilderness.
PACKRAFT THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
- Great for beginner / intermediate packrafters.
- You only need 5 days off work for 7 days of adventure
- Professional training before you start to ensure you are comfortable in the boats and on the water
- The trip begins and ends in Te Anau
- A highly practical 2-day beginner course ( includes online training ) is included in the 7 days
- Accommodation is included if you would like to stay in our Packrafting Nz Eco Village
- Organize your own lunches and snacks
- All paddling gear ( High-end Alpacka Packrafts, Paddles, and Pfd’s ) is included
- Drysuits ( semi ) are standard on all our Expeditions
- Your backpack will weigh between 15kg and 20kg
- 10% on all the gear we have in our online shop ( yes that includes Alpacka Packrafts )
Packraft THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION
This is the first day of your Packrafting level 1 course. We build your skills in inflating and deflating boats, self and buddy rescue, important paddle strokes, and learning how to fall out of your boat in style.
We build on the training from the first day and practice all the learned skills in and on a real river 🙂
The adventure begins! We pack the van and drive into the Hollyford valley, leaving civilization behind. After that, the day will be spent floating, paddling, and portaging down the Hollyford River, beneath the towering peaks of the Darran Mountains. We overnight at McKerrow Island which is about 6h down river.
An early start gets us across Lake McKerrow’s 15 km. Tides will then determine whether we paddle or walk the final 7 km to the iconic Martin’s Bay Hut. A challenging journey of about 6h, but one that we should complete by lunchtime. This allows for an afternoon of leisure: explore the wild and scenic coastline, get to know the native wildlife, relax, or all of the above!
We take a break from paddling today and walk the rugged and spectacular coast to Big Bay. The trek involves scrambling and boulder hopping, but gets easier as we go, culminating in a 5 km stretch of windswept beach that leads to the night’s destination, Big Bay Hut. White sand beaches, a walkwire bridge, and swimming opportunities exist for those that still have the energy. This day is somewhere around the 6h mark on your feet
Another combo day. We will start with a 14 km walk on a good track to the upper Pyke river, which usually takes about 3h. We then inflate the boats again and paddle about 2.5h downriver past high peaks and dozens of epic waterfalls. A crossing of Lake Wilmot and a quick visit to the legendary Bushman Sammy Stoat (a real life Robinson Crusoe) round out the day, which ends at Olivine Hut. Evening options include an adventurous bush bash to Olivine falls, or a ride across the historic cable car spanning the Olivine River.
Day 5 in reverse! We start with a paddle to, and then across, Lake Alabaster which will take about 2.5h again. We then pack up the boats and walk to Roadend, which is by far the biggest day walking 25km easy’ish going. From here it is only short walk on the Hollyford Road to bring us back to where we started, completing the 150 km long Hollyford-Big Bay-Pyke loop! We will be back in Te Anau by around dinner time, with time to spare. Either wind down from the expedition, or get organised for whatever adventure is coming next.
PACKRAFT THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION
WHAT WILL I NEED to bring?
- A backpack of about 70 L
- Sleeping bag ( comfort level 0 degrees is totally fine )
- Reasonable fitness to get the maximum out of the expedition
- Some paddling experience would be an advantage
- Great sense of adventure ( and humor ) definitely an advantage!
- A full gear list will be supplied once you booked your trip
Expedition Team gear
- Backup Tents ( supplied by Packrafting Nz )
- Sleeping mat ( will be supplied by Packrafting Nz )
- Stoves and gas
- Plastic drink Cups ( one each 😉 )
OTHER THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND
- You need to make your own way to and from Te Anau as this is not included
- We recommend you allow an extra day after the trip, for unplanned delays as we go
- Lunches and snacks or tea and coffee’s are not included
- If you need to purchase extra gear once you have booked your spot you will get 10% on all gear from our online shop
Packraft the HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION
Accommodation - Where to stay before and after
- New for the Season 2021/2022 you can stay in our new Packrafting Nz Eco Glamping Village if you like
- Days would include:
- Friday to Monday before and Friday to Saturday after the Expedition.
- If you want to be closer to town or a bit more fancy Te Anau has lots of nice places to stay
Need more information on our Hollyford Pyke Expedition?
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the weather in fiordland
The weather in Fiordland can be very unpredictable and change dramatically, very quickly; the close proximity of towering mountains and the ocean makes for conditions and temperatures that can vary markedly during the course of a day. Fiordland is one of the wettest places on the planet.
Summer months average around 20°C but the evenings can be a little cooler. Winter temperatures average around 10°C on the coast with the evenings much colder.It is not unusual to experience both summer and winter conditions and temperatures on the same day!
It is important to be prepared for the worst conditions carry the appropriate clothing at all times. In the event of extreme weather, your safety is our priority and parts of the day may need to be changed. Any decision to do so is a professional decision made by your guide, please respect their decision as it is based on experience and with your safety in mind.
Regardless of the conditions you experience, sun, rain, a combination of the two, or anything in between, your experience on the Hollyford/Pyke Loop will be a memorable one. Here is some more info on the loop.