Only 20 minutes inland from the historic Hurunui Hotel on the way to Hanmer Springs, formerly the Hurunui High Country Track is open again for the 2020/21 season.
The Island Hills Track is like no other in the country as there is such a diverse range of landscapes and vegetation that change continuously throughout your experience.
This is a self-guided private walkway which is very well marked and easy to follow. The lodge style accommodation facilities are very unique, with fully serviced kitchen, BBQ and dining facilities, bunk beds and plenty of privacy. The luxury of hot showers, super comfortable beds, pillows, and pack transport each day makes for a stress free adventure.
The marked trails cover a distance of 30 km utilized for 2 or 3 day walks and although situated amidst high mountains, the placement of the track has meant that it is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and walking ability. The three day walk is the most popular with two day options for those with less time and a little more fitness.
The Island Hills Station Track is limited to 10 people per trip. As your bed is guaranteed each night you are able to walk at your leisure and make the most of the opportunity to learn about the surroundings you are in. You will be provided with a detailed pamphlet of information on the surrounding wildlife, stories about Island Hills and a map showing you points of interest along the trails.
Dogs are welcome on the track, but they must meet stringent criteria and controls so as not to upset other track and hut users, or disturb farm animals and wild life. Permission to bring a dog must be pre-organized with the track ranger at least one week prior to arrival at the property.
Refunds policy; Full refunds will be allocated to the purchaser for any reason up until 7 days prior to start date of the walk. Within 3-6 days prior to start date the purchaser can opt either for cancelation of the booking with a 50% refund or to put the booking on hold with no extra charge for re-scheduling a later date (re-booking start dates are subject to availability and must be advised by e-mail to the track operator). Cancelations within 48 hours of start date/time of the walk will not be able to be refunded or rescheduled. If the track is closed by the operator for any reason full refunds will be allocated right up to the start date of the walk. Any walkers who are unable to make it to the track start due to government enforced travel restrictions or government enforced isolation requirements can opt either for cancelation of the booking with a 100% refund or to put the booking on hold with no extra charge for re-scheduling a later date (re-booking start dates are subject to availability and must be advised by e-mail to the track operator).
You will arrive at the “Cookhouse”on the evening before your first day on the trail. Arrival times from 5:30pm onward, but no later than 9:00pm. The private car parking area is safe secure so you can relax and immerse yourself into uninterrupted high country life, with no cell or internet reception allowing time to explore the relics of history. The farm museum provides you with a sure memory of your childhood and a glimpse into high country station life many years ago.
You are welcome to use the fully serviced kitchen, BBQ and dining facilities to prepare your own meals. On the first evening you may like to have dinner along the way and we highly recommend the nearby historic Hurunui Hotel.
An alternative option is to book a Farm 4WD Tour/Guided Walk plus BBQ meal for the evening of your arrival. This option would suit those able to arrive prior to 6:30pm on the first evening of the walk, we can offer a fun informative guided farm tour, either in a 4 wheel drive or on foot followed by a home cooked BBQ style meal with vegetarian and gluten free options. BYO drinks. The price for this extra option is $65 per person including GST.
On day one the track operator will meet you at the “Cook house” by 8:30am to welcome you to the property and conduct a safety briefing. The track ranger will then provide a 20 minute 4 wheel drive farm tour taking you to the entry point of the walking track. From here you leave your packs for transport to the next accommodation and carry your day packs with lunches, water bottles and extra clothing for safety. On days two and three you need to have your packs ready for transport by 9:30am. You can expect your packs to arrive at the accommodation facilities by 1:00 pm each day. On your last day you will be walking back from the forest and through the farmland to your parked cars to sign out and leave the station at your own leisure.
By the time you have finished this Island Hills Station adventure you will feel like you have experienced high country life and learnt a little about the history. You will have met a few farm animals, bumped into some wild creatures and made friends with the native birds. You will have felt the spongy moss under your feet and maybe even hugged a few trees as you witnessed the Mandamus Preservation Reserve project in action where the property has set aside vast areas of land for forest regeneration, pest control and in turn wild life restoration.