New Zealand’s Ultimate Packrafting Adventure – Unique, Unparalleled & Thrilling



The Hollyford & Pyke Packrafting Expedition

Duration: 6 Days (approx.)
Location: Te Anau/Queenstown
Product code: 6days

From NZD$2,249.00

Packrafting is a unique way to experience the very essence of New Zealand’s wilderness and combine hiking and paddling.

The Fiordland Explorer guided packrafting expedition gives you access to an area normally visited only by very experienced backcountry explorers. It is a truly spectacular part of New Zealand. During this 6 day/5 night, guided packrafting expedition you will be travelling from the mountains to the sea, up the coastline and back into the mountains. You will paddle the Hollyford River, Lake McKerrow, Lakes Wilmot and Alabaster, and the Pyke River. You will walk along the rugged coastline to Big Bay, cross into the Pyke Valley, and wander past waterfalls on the famous Hollyford track. A maximum number of 6 people and 2 guides makes sure you’ll get a very personal experience and have constant support on this breath-taking, challenging, and unforgettable journey.

The Hollyford / Pyke Loop Packrafting Experience includes:

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Transport with hotel pick-ups from Queenstown can be arranged for a small fee of $25.
  • Friendly & professional guides
  • Packrafting down the Hollyford & Pyke river and across Lake McKerrow, Lake Wilmot & Lake Alabaster
  • Track accommodation in Doc Huts or Tents
  • All meals on the track
  • Backpacks & Rain jackets can be hired if required


Day 1:
We’ll get on the road after coffee and enjoy a nice ‘guided’ tour with several stops as we head up along the Milford road towards our destination, the Hollyford River. If we feel that a little more training is in order, we’ll spend an hour or so further sharpening our skills near Gunn’s Camp just before lunch. Otherwise, we’ll jump right in (literally) for a 5ish hour paddle to our first night’s stop on Mckerrow island.

Day 2:
We’ll get an early start to take advantage of calmer conditions and bypass the notorious Demon trail with a 16 km paddle across lake Mckerrow. Then we’ll roll up the boats for an 8km walk passing the site of the historic first settlement in New Zealand, Jamestown. Long reef point is a short stroll from the hut and offers opportunities for spotting penguins and sea lions on a rugged west coast beach.

Day 3:
An iconic 12 km walk around long reef point and along a rocky coastline giving way into pristine sand beaches ends at Big Bay hut. This is real wilderness–no trails, pounding sea, and true isolation. We’ll start the journey two hours before low tide to ensure that we manage the tricky bits before the tide comes in!

Day 4:
A big day from Big Bay! The morning starts with a 10km along an old prospecting road (which hardly feels like a road anymore!) into the upper Pyke Valley. Here we’ll inflate the boats again and set off down the Pyke river–flanked by majestic mountains and waterfalls–across lake Wilmot, and to Olivine Hut at the water’s edge.

Day 5:
After a lazy start (you’ll have earned it!), we’ll continue paddling the Pyke river to Lake Alabaster. On the way there are opportunities to check out waterfalls and see the arduous ‘track’ that awaits trampers trying to negotiate this section–some of the markers are actually in the river! The night will be spent either at Alabaster Hut or the aptly named Hidden Falls Hut, 10 km further down the track.

Day 6:
The final day of the adventure takes in the last 10km (if day 5 ended at Hidden Falls) or 20km (if Alabaster) of the Hollyford track. Good footing and easy walking through stunning sub-alpine forest and over Little Homer Saddle allows you to get up close and personal with a number of spectacular waterfalls.


  • All specialised boating equipment
  • All meals on the trail are included
  • Transport from Queenstown & Return can be arrange for $25
  • Training & Group meeting the night before
  • Trip photos free on website
  • All National park and camping/hut fees
  • All DOC (Department of Conservation fees)
  • If no hut stays (Tents are included)

Standard equipment supplied by Expedition x:

  • 3/2 mm Wetsuit
  • NRS Foam PFD
  • NRS Helmet
  • 2 split aluminium paddle
  • Alpacka rafts
  • NRS Spray tops (if needed)
  • Drybags for (Sleeping bag, Camp/spare clothing)
  • Backpack inliner

Extra equipment can be hired or purchased (e.g. our light 4 split Werner carbon fibre paddle)

For you to bring:

Please ask us for rental options if you do not have the items below.

  • 65l – 70l backpack
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Head torch
  • Personal hiking gear
  • Personal sleeping gear

For a full list of recommended equipment please contact us at [email protected]


Fitness Requirments in short:

  • 15kg – 20kg backpack up to 8 hours
  • Paddling legs of up to 6 hours
  • Reasonable water confidence /swimming ability
  • You don’t need to be a pro but we need some paddling experience

The Fiordland Explorer is a real 6 day wilderness expedition – it can be relatively easy or it can be a challenge depending what the weather throws at us. Please read the requirements and make sure you understand the demands. It is one of the best-guided adventures you can do in New Zealand.

On your Fiordland Expedition, you will be carrying an approximately 20 kg backpack for up to 8 hours a day (mostly 4-6 hours) and some paddling legs may take between 4-6 hours. Your fitness will have a big impact on how much you will enjoy this unforgettable adventure. Even though paddling experience is not essential it will certainly help. We will assess and train you to make sure you are prepared for the challenges ahead.

Nobody, unless carrying a backpack every day, will be used to the different load on your shoulders and you will feel tired after a long day. And for the paddling section on our trips, unless you are paddling on a regular basis, you will feel your muscles burning in the evenings. This is all part of the adventure.

We understand it can be difficult to prepare for a specific adventure, but you should give it a try and we promise you will enjoy this trip even more.

Your goal is to walk with a backpack (around 15-20 kg) at a very easy pace for 3 – 5 hours. You should start with flat and easy walks and gradually build up to more hilly terrain.

It can be hard to prepare for the paddling demands unless you actually paddle. If you have the chance, great go for it – if not, replace the paddling sessions with arm strength/core training sessions.

TOP TIP: Wear your hiking boots that you plan on wearing for the trip on all training walks. This will make sure they are properly worn in and gives you a chance to find any hotspots or blister areas that might need attention. Appropriate socks are as important as shoes if we talk blisters.

Our personal (guides) training plan (4 – 6 weeks)

Week 1: Easy Terrain

  • 1–2 days walking with your pack (15 – 20kg) for about 1h each.
  • If you have access to a gym, general fitness is always good – if you can find a kayaking machine do a 20min session 2 x week with a steady but slow pace.

Week 2: Easy Terrain

  • 1–2 days walking with your pack for about 1:50h each.
  • Kayaking machine or kayaking on lake or water (if you can) 20min x 2 slow steady pace.

Week 3: Moderate Terrain

  • 1–2 days walking with your pack (increase weight a little bit ~ 2 -3 kg) 1h each.
  • Kayaking machine or kayaking on lake or water (if you can) 20min x 2 slow steady pace.

Week 4: Moderate Terrain

  • 1-2 days walking with your pack (with increased weight) 1:50h each.
  • Kayaking machine or kayaking on lake or water (if you can) 20min x 2 slow steady pace.

Week 5: Moderate to more challenging terrain

  • 2–3 days (if you can) walking with your pack (reduce weight to start weight) 1h each.
  • Kayaking machine or kayaking on lake or water (if you can) 20min x 2 slow steady pace.

Week 6: Easy Terrain

  • 1 day only with a 20kg pack for 2 -3 hours (try to do this about 4 – 6 days before start of the trip)
  • Kayaking machine or kayaking on lake or water (if you can) 20min x 2 slow steady pace.


The Hollyford/Pyke is a somewhat remote area in the Fiordland national park in will be affected by weather.

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.


Whilst we will send you all the information you need to prepare for this expedition, we also conduct pre-departure briefings the evening before your departure, which you are required to attend.

Pre-departure briefings provide an opportunity to meet the other guests in your group, with whom you will be spending the next six days, and will cover the details you will need to know for your departure the following day. We will also check your personal gear to make sure you have the appropriate equipment for the expedition, itinerary breakdown, supply food and any shared items like tents, stoves and emergency items. This is also the opportunity to ask any questions and to pick up any extra items you may need e.g backpacks, drybags etc if required.

Pre-departure briefings are conducted the night before your departure date at 5:00pm in Te Anau.



We are one of the very few packrafting guiding companies in the world, offering guided outdoor adventure packrafting trips in the New Zealand since 2012.

We offer highly personal, very unique and exclusive outdoor adventures leaving the crowds behind.

A packraft is a mix between a kayak & a raft, it is stable and behaves a bit like a raft but you paddle it like a kayak and it is so much lighter. Average weight of our boats is only 2.5kg.

Our small team is passionate about what we do, the outdoors & packrafting and we would love to take you out with us on one of our journeys into the wild, discovering new possibilities and corners of New Zealand.

From day trips just around the corner to multi-day trips deep into the wilderness we offer a range of awesome outdoor experiences. We can cater for absolute beginner, who is just getting started to the seasoned packrafter.

Click for a Quote or 0800 005 216


Please Note:
A booking form and a $250 or $500 deposit per person is required to secure your booking.
The balance of payment is to be paid four weeks prior to your departure date.
For cancellations prior to your departure date the following refund applies:
Within 3 weeks = no refund applies
3 – 6 weeks = deposit non-refundable, 80% of balance paid refunded
7 – 12 weeks = deposit non-refundable, 100% of balance paid refunded
More than 12 weeks = full refund including deposit
Once your trip has commenced no refund applies due to any circumstance.

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you arrange personal travel/medical insurance at the time of booking to guard against loss of fares paid caused by any eventuality necessitating cancellation of your trip within our cancellation period. Cancellations could be due to reasons beyond your control such as: falling ill prior to your departure / a sprained ankle whilst partaking in another activity / a family bereavement / missing a flight and therefore, missing your departure etc..


Hollyford & Pyke Packrafting

Te Anau Adventure

Lake McKerrow

Lakes Wilmot and Alabaster

Group Expeditions

New Zealand Outdoor Adventure

Packrafting Day Trips

Packrafting Multi Day Trips

New Zealand’s Ultimate Packrafting Adventure – Unique, Unparalleled & Thrilling – 0800 005 216


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New Zealand’s Ultimate Packrafting Adventure – Unique, Unparalleled & Thrilling – 0800 005 216