Hollyford-Pyke Pack Rafting Loop

This trip will stay strong in the memory for a long time for a whole lot of reasons. Firstly, the company was outstanding for some quality time with the whānau. The Fiordland landscape is stunning. We took six days to do the Hollyford Pyke loop, an Aotearoa pack rafting classic. 

We went into this trip with a southerly front coming through at the end of the first day so it was an alpine start to get onto the Hollyford river at first light. First thing in the morning the river kept our attention with the navigation of the many strainers and log jams, the river opening out lower down. We were stoked to get off the river just as the front was coming through for a night at McKerrow Island Hut. 

By the second morning, the front had cleared yeeow and we had a flat calm paddle up Lake McKerrow and a short walk to the stunning coastal Martins Bay hut!  Martins Bay was a real highlight for its views and sand dunes. 

The third day was a walk around the coast to Big Bay Hut, a busy place from planes landing on the beach, surfers and locals white baiting. The fourth day was a short walk into the put-in on the Pyke River. We were blown away by the landscape of the gin-clear water of the Pyke River and the backdrop of the Darran mountains. The night of the fourth was spent at the Olivine Hut with the spectacular Olivine Falls nearby. 

By day five of the trip, we were in the routine of loading up gear and inflating the pack rafts. We were back on the Pyke River and off to the get-out at the end of Lake Alabaster Hut for lunch and then a couple of hour's walk to Hidden Falls huts tucked under the Darran mountains. 

The landscape of Fiordland is addictive we will be back for more! Below are a few quotes from my family;

Rosa Stones “Amazing paddling through clear blue water”

Catharine "One of the most spectacular trips I have ever done, mind-blowing scenery and an awesome mix of pack rafting and tramping"

Zack Stones “River highways gave us spectacular views of rugged mountains and massive valleys”

A huge thanks to Nathan Faavae for lending his two Alpacka double-pack rafts cheers, bro! A big thank you to the many sponsors that helped make this trip possible, & Jetboil NZ for supplying the gas and a new #minimo legend 👊