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“not just near perfect ... it was perfect”

Ultimate Hikes Guided Walks
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Ultimate Nature Experience from Queenstown: Dart River Jet Boat Ride and Lake...
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Owner description: The only operators of multiday guided walks on the famous Milford & Routeburn Tracks: operating in New Zealand's stunning World Heritage Area, providing range of all-inclusive guided walks from 1-8 days. Trek through rainforests, past mountain peaks and over remote alpine passes on a unique experience without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Accommodation on overnight walks is in luxury lodges, with meals, hot showers and snug beds. All walks include transport, food, equipment and expert guides. Single day excursions must be booked 24 hours in advance.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“not just near perfect ... it was perfect”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2012

the Milford Track with Ultimate Hikes can't be recommended highly enough

I did initially feel it would be too much money but did not think I should do it indepedently with my mother

looking back I am so glad I spend the money and did it in the most enjoyable way there is

my 70 year old mum and myself loved every minute of it and we will always treasure the 5 days with the highly knowledgeable guides, their enthusiasm, the wonderful homely lodges and their dedicated staff

I look back and can't think of one single recommendation for improvement - for us it was the perfect trip

my husband did the Routebourn track with Ultimate hikes as a day trip and was equally impressed

thanks to all the staff involved in hike 120 in March '12

2 Thank Jarvis-5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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695 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“The Grand Traverse: A great way to see the country”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 March 2012

Having previously walked the Milford and Routeburn, I more or less knew what I was in for with both Ultimate Hikes and The Grand Traverse. Though each walk is strongly influenced by the weather, guides and cohesion of the group. More than the rain, the last two seem to have a huge impact on each person in our group's experience.

Our guides were lovely, able and cheerful in all circumstances. Sometimes the briefings could be a little more informative - telling us what to look for in the way of natural fauna, flora, terrain and hazards (as I remembered guides on the Milford had done when run by THC). We had two non-english speakers in the group and there didn't seem to be much attempt finding someone to translate and make sure they understood key information. This caused a few problems, including safety. I'd encourage Ultimate hikes to have a small manual in each hut in the most common languages - to inform them about simple things like not to put clothes/towels on the heaters, or boots in the dryign room, as well as safety info for the walk each day.

On the Grand Traverse, as previously mentioned the lodges range from very basic (in Steele Creek we got cold showers due some problem and it was a little chaotic finding a bunk if you arrived towards the back of the group). But the newer lodges on the Routeburn were spectacular, especially McKenzie. Rooms are still rather basic (new en suite rooms are currently being built) and you're not given the opportunity to change your room mates, which turned out to be problematic for at least two sets of room-mates on our trip. As it was a full party, there wasn't any opportunity to change. Having hostile bunkmates for 4/5 nights of our trip was a bit of a downer (especially as others were having a ball with theirs).

Much has been said about the food. Omnivores tend to eat well and there were few complaints. Vegetarians and especially vegans seemed a little short changed, often with limited sandwich filling choices including a lack of protein for days of strenuous walking and little or no treats (biscuits etc). Though the guides tried to make an effort, it was pretty unexciting food-wise once meat is taken off the menu.

The star of the walk is the scenery. I loved the Greenstone valley, the beech forests and the water. Our trip over the Harris Saddle was in torrential rain, with wet shoes for the last two days of the tramp. But you don't get waterfalls without rain, and yes they were spectacular.

It's a pity there is no longer a final night dinner in Queenstown, as it used to be a great way to debrief with the guides and the group and was a lot of fun in the past. A few of us did catch up independently and had a great time.

On the Australian dollar, the trip was great value. Though I'd hoped to get a group of kiwi friends to join us, they found it too expensive.

Visited March 2012
3 Thank AustralasianGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Excellent tramping experience on the Routeburn Track”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2012

3 day tramping/hiking in the mountains of the South Island. Pays to have prepared by getting tramping fit. 1st day is long as starts with a bus ride beginning at 0700 so 6 hour tramp doesn't start until near midday. Following 2 days are easier. 2 nights spent in lodge accommodation are clean and comfortable with excellent food provided. Guides and Lodge staff are friendly and helpful. We had a great time with lots of laughs despite our somewhat creaky joints. We are planning further trips next year.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank Globalsisters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Superb scenery, hot showers, soft beds, good food, cold beer/wine”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2012

Recently completed the Milford and Routeburn Tracks with Ultimate Hikes. Personally I preferred the Routeburn Track but then I like hills and mountains. Either of these tracks could be done solo they are clearly marked and don't need map reading skills. However doing this with Ultimate Hikes you get hot showers, very good food, comfortable beds and cold beer/wine (the latter you pay for separately). In addition you get knowledgeable guides who for the most part will act with the lightest touch if you are an experienced hiker, or take a more hands on role if you want it.
We were fortunate with the weather and the people in the group got on well. For the hiker who wants to be alone on the tack, the guides allow you to walk at your own pace so you can easily walk most of the day without seeing many other people.
UH are not particularly cheap but then I don't think they were that expensive either. As a solo traveller I enjoyed meeting like minded people from around the world and would have no hesitation in recommending UH to others

Visited February 2012
6 Thank Simon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blenheim, New Zealand
Level Contributor
67 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fantastic, had a ball!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2012

We all thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the Grand traverse hike, the weather was kind to us and the guides were absolutely stunning, they are the best!! Without them it would be a whole different trip. We saw the most stunning scenery and would love to go back when all the flowers are out. Just brilliant.
You do need some fitness tho to make it enjoyable.
All our food, accommodation etc was included in the price, all you had to pay for was your wine or beer if you had some.

Visited March 2012
Thank turtle63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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