Hollyford Track has been on my bucket list for a few years, and I was excited to finally join up for the guided tour early Feb. I joined a group of 12 other hikers from across the globe, and have to say it exceeded all my expectations - we were blessed by the weather gods all 3 days of the hike, and apparently had the best conditions of the season (so far!). I was attracted to this walk as it gives a variety of scenery from forest to coast, and the reality was many “oh wow!” breath-taking moments throughout the hike. We spotted all sorts of native birdlife, penguin, seals and a lone dolphin frolicking along the Hollyford River. We were well looked after by Justin and Cam (our guides), the lodge hosts at Pyke and Martins Bay lodges, our jet-boat driver, helicopter pilot and the bus drivers who got us to/from our destinations. The lodges were comfortable and well-fortified from the relentless sandflies; there were hot showers, drying rooms and top notch cuisine (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We were well debriefed on every aspect of the trip along the way, including health & safety hazards, and our guides provided a good bit of banter and camaraderie with us all. Justin taught us all about the forest, wildlife, ecosystems, the challenges faced by early settlers, ancient Maori myths and history of the early Maori culture, and the legendary Davey Gunn – what shone through was Justin’s passion for the knowledge he was sharing with us, and I’ve come away with a renewed respect for the intricate ecosystem community that lives within this National Park. Justin and Cam made sure we went out there every day ready to tackle the challenges positively and make some memories for ourselves, which we definitely did.
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