New Zealand Trails Newsletter August 2014
• Destination Spotlight: Martins Bay and the Hollyford Valley
• Support Wildlife Conservation while you Hike
• Availability Update and New Departure
• Mid-Year Travel Deal Expires Soon
Our time here is always one of the highlights and lasting memories for guests on our New Zealand Hiking Tours, and for very good reason. It's days nine and ten of the trip and after our morning walk on the Milford Track we travel in spectacular fashion, with a helicopter ride along the length of Milford Sound and around to Martins Bay, at the end of the Hollyford Valley.
Where is Martins Bay and the Hollyford Valley?
Located within Fiordland National Park and Te Wahipounamu (Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area), this is a very remote spot. You have two options to get to Martins Bay, a three day walk along the enticingly named 'Demon Trail' section of the Hollyford Track or by air, which is our preferred method. Martins Bay is on the West Coast of the South Island, approximately 45km (28 miles) to the north of Milford Sound, the entire Hollyford Valley stretches around 55 km (34 miles) from the Milford Road to the Tasman Sea and includes the Hollyford Track, road and Lake McKerrow.
What makes this area unique and special?
There's a real magic about Martins Bay and the Hollyford Valley, a combination of the stunning remote location, fascinating human history and pristine natural environment are unmatched anywhere in New Zealand. The Hollyford Valley is heartland Fiordland, nestled between the Darran and Humbolt mountains which means lots of great mountain scenery on your day's hiking through the lush forest and past countless waterfalls. What strikes a chord with most our guests is the human history of the Hollyford - from the early Maori who found physical and spiritual nourishment in the valley, to the first European to visit - he was so terrified of the local Maori he snuck past under the cover of darkness to reach Martins Bay. What followed were stories of hardship and heroics in New Zealand's most remote settlement, Moa sightings, ship wrecks and grand schemes of roads, towns and ports all gone in an instant when the gold ran out. This is all part of the Hollyford magic.
What our guests love about Martins Bay and the Hollyford Track:
- Walking in tranquility for a day in paradise
- Spending the night in total comfort in the wilderness at Martins Bay Lodge
- Seeing fur seals and even penguins up close
- Thrilling Fiordland Helicopter Flight and Backcountry Jetboat
New Zealand's unique native wildlife has long been under threat from introduced species and in some areas of the country this has reached crisis point. In a island landmass devoid of land mammals for millions of years, the native birds had no predators to escape from and thus didn't need to fly or build nests high in the safety of the forest. With the introduction of rats, stoats and possums the native flora and fauna of the Hollyford face a real threat, species such as the kaka, saddleback, blue duck and Fiordland crested penguin are all at risk.
Our partners and hosts at Martins Bay Lodge, Hollyford Walks, provide support to and fund working conservation projects in the valley, and a portion of your tour fee is used to help these programmes. One of the main efforts in controlling predators is an active trapping programme, particularly near the penguin nesting areas at Long Reef, where we visit during our afternoon coastal hiking on day nine of our tour. Hollyford Walks also provide resources and logistical support to the Hollyford Conservation Trust and undertake their own off season predator control in Martins Bay.
Conservation of New Zealand's natural environment is a priority to many New Zealanders and visitors alike, a big part of your experience with New Zealand Trails is learning what is going on and more importantly what we are all doing to try and help. As well as supporting Hollyford Walks in their conservation efforts, as guests on a New Zealand Trails tour you also support the Arthur's Pass Wildlife Trust and the Mou Waho Island Native Tree Planting Project.
Our mid year travel deal has been very popular, with lots of guests booking their tours to take advantage of $400 of free travel extras.
What's the deal? Book your New Zealand Trails
tour by August 15, 2014 and receive one night's complimentary accommodation and dinner in the Chateau on the Park hotel in Christchurch.
It's the time of year many people seem to be planning their New Zealand travel and in recent weeks we've been taking lots of bookings. Our 2014/2015 trips are proving very popular, with many trips only having two or three spots left and our first January trip is now full. To meet this demand, we've scheduled a couple of new departures, December 13, January 9 and March 30. We expect all trips for the coming season to be full, so if you are thinking about joining us we would advise booking as soon as you can in order to avoid disappointment. See our full trip schedule and availability here.
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