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The Hollyford Pyke Expedition

REDEFINING OUTDOOR ADVENTURE

The Hollyford Pyke Expedition 150km pure wilderness to the end of the world and back.

Hollyford Pyke Expedition Start Location
Little Homer Rapid on the Hollyford River
Packrafting New Zealand - The Hollyford Pyke Expedition
upper Pyke Valley transition into packraft mode

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.

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ADVENTURE TIME

Watch the video of our Famous Hollyford Pyke Loop

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
  • We offer 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 lunches and snacks
  • All paddling gear ( High-end Alpacka Packrafts, Paddles, and Pfd’s ) is included
  • Drysuits 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 )Alpacka

Packraft THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION

SAMPLE ITINERARY

DAY 1

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. 

DAY 2

We build on the training from the first day and practice all the learned skills in and on a real river 🙂 

DAY 3

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.

DAY 4

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!

DAY 5

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 

DAY 6

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 7

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
your accommodation Glamping Tent
Views from your accommodation
Views from Campsite your accommodation
Views from your accommodation

Need more information on our Hollyford Pyke Expedition?

Not sure if this is for you? Need more info...
pop your email into the box and we will send you the download link to your free Expedition info package.

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.

PACKRAFT THE HOLLYFORD PYKE EXPEDITION

Book your spot

BOOK The Hollyford Pyke Expedition

Season 2021 / 22

Packrafting New Zealand
5.0
Based on 26 reviews
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Becky Jade Kinnear
Becky Jade Kinnear
2021-03-31T09:04:59+0000
Thanks so much to Arno and Andy for a great level 1 packrafting course. We learnt so much both on and off the water,... picked up lots of new skills and has given us the confidence of what to do if capsizing the boat! Lots of fun over the two days. Let's hope my lost paddle turns up soon!!read more
Michael Dickson
Michael Dickson
2020-01-26T21:18:53+0000
A great intro to packrafting - we did the one day '2 Rivers' trip and Arno and team were awesome - great instruction in... the basics and safety in the morning on the gentle river and then some fun in the afternoon in some more running water. The scenery was spectacular and the rivers pristine - can't wait to go again soon. Big thanks Arno Martenread more
Joshua Osborne
Joshua Osborne
2020-01-06T20:21:21+0000
Really worthwhile course...learned so much, fun and relaxed group, had a great time, ran some 2+ rapids, and was... thoroughly worn out by the end. Couldn't ask for more.read more
Bob Perry
Bob Perry
2019-08-07T06:54:07+0000
A really professional organisation. Excellent instruction and guiding and always willing to organise a flexible... programme that meets your needs. This is the third time that I have packrafted with Arno and his team and I would highly recommend Packrafting NZ to anybody, from beginner to seasoned packrafter.read more
Nick Owen
Nick Owen
2019-04-25T06:23:15+0000
Fantastic day learning to Packraft on the Waiau and Eglinton rivers with Arno. Excellent teaching, skills practice and... beautiful rivers to paddle on. This has already changed the way I look at the mountains, rivers and lakes. I'll be back for more before I plan my first adventure with a Packraft!!!! 🙂read more
Bella King
Bella King
2019-03-24T20:34:32+0000
Andy and Arno are the greatest pair you could hope to have guide you through an epic adventure. So much wisdom to... impart, stories to share and plenty of laughs to be had. Not overbearing or smothering with their expert guidance, happy to help whenever needed and always up for a giggle. Best week of my life doing the Hollyford Pyke loop, cannot recommend this trip and this company/dream team highly enough!! Do yourself a favour and link up with Packrafting NZ now!!! no excuses!read more
Matthew Tyrrell
Matthew Tyrrell
2018-12-25T21:13:04+0000
Great Skills & Safety course taken with Arno and Andy, they did really well to accommodate a group with a wide skill... set and worked with my lack of experience to help push a lot of boundaries. Great fun despite the chilly conditions 🥶read more
Carl Justcarl
Carl Justcarl
2018-02-13T07:03:55+0000
Professional with friendly and knowledgeable staff. If you want the best guides or instructors for packrafting in NZ... these are the guys.read more
Brandon Purdue
Brandon Purdue
2017-09-04T02:56:40+0000
Great folk and great adventures, give packrafting a go, you will have a blast!
Rachel Prasek
Rachel Prasek
2017-02-04T09:15:55+0000
Arno was such a fantastic guide and had us cracking up the whole trip. The sights were absolutely breathtaking and I... would do this 100x over again. It was a truly amazing experience!!!read more
Rachael Roy
Rachael Roy
2016-10-22T01:00:25+0000
Amazing trip great to learn new skills on the water. Loved how much fun it was and to see some spectacular scenery at... the same time. Fabulous way to get around on water and land, it's amazing how you can carry your raft anywhere. Loved it!read more
Astrid Maes
Astrid Maes
2016-10-02T06:43:25+0000
Katrina Tai Peacock
Katrina Tai Peacock
2016-04-02T00:41:58+0000
One of the best trip i have done in New Zealand. 😀
Joel Bilbe
Joel Bilbe
2016-01-22T06:10:26+0000
Absolutely sick day!! The guides are great and the experience in itself is one of a kind. A must do!
Amy Bursten
Amy Bursten
2015-12-29T07:32:41+0000
This was the most relaxing and fun day. It was the highlight of my 9 days in Queenstown. Thanks guys I had a... wonderful time. 🙂read more
Charlie Vale
Charlie Vale
2015-11-09T09:11:52+0000
Best trip in Queenstown. An NZ must do. Go and explore mountains, canyons, rivers and get stuck into the great outdoors... before sleeping under a starry sky after laughs around the camp fire. A once in a lifetime, never forget experience.read more
Corey Bz
Corey Bz
2015-05-17T09:45:07+0000
Mike Friday
Mike Friday
2015-02-14T19:51:43+0000
Jose Orlando Marques
Jose Orlando Marques
2014-12-20T08:33:48+0000
Muito legal!
Francisco Alves
Francisco Alves
2014-12-12T02:32:51+0000
Sherdil Khan Rohani
Sherdil Khan Rohani
2014-05-16T16:52:52+0000
Georgie Carrington
Georgie Carrington
2014-05-09T07:11:48+0000
Carmen O'Brien
Carmen O'Brien
2014-04-03T09:03:15+0000
Carmen O'Brien
Carmen O'Brien
2014-04-03T09:03:15+0000
Huw Miles
Huw Miles
2014-03-14T06:11:50+0000
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