It is a privilege to spend time in a place which only few have seen or experienced.To stand on a secluded beach or under a forest canopy that can only be reached on foot is a truly special moment. Of the many walks available in beautiful New Zealand, the three-day Hollyford Track in Fiordland National Park manages to stand out as one of the most unique.
This trip has it all, and the diversity of the natural environment is awe inspiring. We experienced lush rainforest, beech forest, the rushing Hollyford River, the magnificent snow-capped Darran mountain ranges, mirror-like lakes and windswept beaches where the only footprints were our own. We also encountered an abundance of beautiful bird life, a seal colony and we even caught a glimpse of the very rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.
The walking is challenging but with some sensible preparation is very achievable for those with a moderate level of fitness and is equally satisfying to both experienced walkers and first timers. Best of all were the guides - their knowledge and passion for the region was obvious and infectious and having a small group really meant that we were able to share in that with them and immerse ourselves in the history of our breathtaking surroundings.
Just when you think it couldn't get any better, we enjoyed the thrill of jet boating on Martins Bay. To top off three days of spectacular scenery, walking and swimming ( a little chilly!) we flew out of Martins Bay by helicopter, which was an absolutely stunning ride above and through Milford Sound. What a way to travel!
Our wonderful experience in New Zealand didn't finish with the Hollyford Track. Aftering spending time in picturesque Queenstown (and enjoying some delicious New Zealand lamb and a bottle of central Otago red wine at the Botswana Butchery) we headed for the West Coast Glaciers.
How often do you get to walk on a Glacier? This was definitely a "must do" for us so we strapped on our crampons and headed up the Fox Glacier. A Heli Hike is an incredible way to experience this dramatic part of New Zealand. By heading up in a Helicopter not only are you treated to a magnificent view but are privileged to be with a very small group.
Exploring ice caves and being up close to this wonder of nature is a very special experience. To round out our short, but action-packed time in the South Island we headed for Greymouth to board the Tranzalpine Scenic Rail to Christchurch. All we need do for this was to relax in our seats, sipping another beautiful New Zealand red, whilst watching the stunning Southern Alpine scenery go by - from the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, deep gorges and the Waimakariri River.
With home (and our beautiful children) beckoning, our last stop was Auckland and a trip over to Waiheke Island. Our day there couldn't have been more perfect - a bit of adventure in the morning with Ecozip adventures followed by a visit to the Peacock Sky Cellar Door for a gourmet degustation tasting of their beautiful vintages, all topped off with lunch at Mudbrick Vineyard - offering some of the most spectacular views over the ocean back to Auckland.
Now home for a rest and a diet!
If you would like to know more about a New Zealand holiday and the Hollyford Track in particular, phone Kylie on: 0423 248 074 or Helen on: 0408 715 135.