Important Information

Important Information - Fiorland Coastal Walks

Please read through the sections below. It is important that you are aware of both the excitement and the challenges of this remote wilderness environment.


A good degree of fitness is required (Personalised Walks can provide for a lower fitness level). If you can walk 10km per day on easy pathways then you are well on the way and with some further training you will be fine. If you are used to typical New Zealand tramping trails then you will be fine.

There are three main varieties of coastline. First, there is sandy beach. At low tide there is generally a hard-packed area which can be like walking on a footpath. At the high tide and dune area there is a variation with equally harder and softer stretches.

Second, there are various shorter stretches of gravel or stone, which vary between hard and soft areas. The hard areas are easy and the soft areas require more energy while maintaining consistency underfoot. We generally cover these stretches at a slightly slower pace.

Third, the boulder coastline, which can be daunting at first but tends to become the preferred coastline once there as it can be fun and distance can be covered. The boulders are very heavy ultramafic rocks brought down during the last glaciation and they are well settled in and don't move. They are generally well placed in terms of distance apart, both horizontally and vertically, leading to a stepping stone quality. Sometimes there can be short stretches which require clambering and different stepping, depending on tides.

The Haast to Hollyford Coastal Walk includes the Hollyford Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. This is mostly a formed track and is maintained by the Department of Conservation to a good standard.

Our walks are pleasurable and we adjust to your pace, so if a slower walk is your style then that is the way we proceed. If you use joint support then you should bring that with you. In addition, we carry the food, camping gear and other equipment to lighten your load. The pack weight, with only your personal gear and some emergency equipment, should be about 7-8 kg.


Safety is paramount and we operate with an approved Health and Safety Plan. Our walks are through remote wilderness areas. Our guides are trained in first aid and pre-hospital care (similar to ambulance staff) and carry complete first aid and emergency equipment. Communication is retained with emergency services through satellite phone and emergency locator beacons.

At times, weather and environmental conditions can change rapidly. We do not continue through or enter an area if there is a risk to your safety. It is important that you follow the guides' instructions in the event that a route requires adapting to suit the conditions.

New Zealand has various government funded emergency and evacuation services; however, we strongly recommend insurance to cover expenses such as helicopter evacuation, if needed.


It is important that we are advised of any health matters such as allergies and medications or other issue which may arise.

There is a risk of sunburn during New Zealand’s sunny months. Due to the open nature of coastal walking sun protection is advised.




The weather along the coast can change at any time of the year. Our weather forecasting systems are usually accurate, however, and we have a good idea of what to expect on each trip. Because we walk  right along the coastline, we often experience different weather from the mountains and inland regions. Snow is very rare and temperatures are warmer than inland. Rainfall, while at times heavy, is also less than inland, where most forecasts and recordings are taken.

Conversely, high daytime temperatures and sun exposure are to be wary ofthe open coastal walking means we are exposed to the skies above (the starry southern night skies can be spectacular). The coastline experiences long periods of calm, sunny and settled weather as well as long periods of heavy rainfall. Both are exceptional.

High rainfall can lead to rivers flooding and make crossing difficult, although the catchments are relatively short and the river levels can drop quickly after rain.

Meals & Dietary Requirements

All meals, drinks and snacks are provided. If you have special dietary requirements please let us know so we can do our best to cater for them. We aim to provide a superior quality of food and drink to complement the outstanding environment you will be experiencing.

We sometimes try to supplement our meals with food caught along the way (typically seafood), when nature allows. This may include blue cod, lobster (crayfish), paua (abalone), mussels, trout, salmon or whitebait, subject to fishing skills and regulation. Sometimes guests are treated to wild venison. Wild herbs and other similar delicacy enhancements can lift meals on occasion too. Such  meals are always special.


Our accommodation comprises three main types:

Camping in tents. This is wilderness coastline at its best. Our tents are the highest quality and come with light mattresses for superior comfort. Campsites are chosen for their shelter, outlook and aesthetic qualities.

Department of Conservation huts. These have separate sleeping bunkrooms with mattresses and a living / cooking room. They are basic, but comfortable and very cosy. DOC huts have a rich history and culture in New Zealand., but at times they may be unavailable in which case we camp nearby.

Private huts. These vary in facility, but are always comfortable and warm with good beds. They are filled with tales and memories from the past and will be a highlight of your journey.

Toilet facilities vary from flush toilets, to long drops, to those provided in a more natural setting.

Wildlife & Insects

Sandflies can at times be annoying, however, they can be dealt with by a variety of means. Long sleeves, trousers and headwear combined with insect repellent is very effective. Mosquitoes are uncommon.

We will encounter wildlife along the way such as seals, birds and, occasionally, red deer (we have yet to spot the elusive Fiordland moose). We follow strict wildlife encounter guidelines to avoid disturbance and the wildlife also do their best to avoid us.


We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance. The more common eventualities where insurance is prudent include emergency helicopter or evacuation costs, missed flights or other arrangements due to weather and other delays, or medical mishap.



Terms & Conditions

1. Client Cancellations.

All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to or Fiordland Coast Walks, PO Box 17611, Christchurch 8840.

The following refunds will apply:

  1. Prior to 90 days before departure date, 95% of total cost.
  2. From 60 to 90 days before departure date, 75% of total cost.
  3. From 21 to 60 days before departure date, 50% of total cost.
  4. Within 21 days of departure date, no refund.

2. Operator Cancellations.

The Operator reserves the right to alter, amend or cancel any trip should weather or any other circumstance necessitate this. Once the trip has departed, no portion of the package payment is refundable in the event of an individual or group being unable to proceed further on the track, for whatever reason. In exceptional circumstances, and in the sole discretion of the Operator, any unused portion of a trip may be transferred to another trip. Such a portion will be calculated on a discounted basis reflecting time and cost.

3. Liability

We advise that all activities do carry a degree of risk and that by participating in the activities provided by the Operator (Coastal Hikes Limited) you are expressly assuming those risks personally and are, to the maximum extent permitted by law, releasing the Concessionaire (Braemar South Island Limited), the Operator and its officers, employees, contractors and agents from any liability, claims, losses, damages or expenses caused by any event, or weather conditions including, but not limited to, personal injury or death, property loss or damage, acts which may be construed as negligent or accidental, any other loss, damage, suffering, emotional or nervous disorder.

In participating in any of the activities provided by the Operator, you the client, agree to and consent to, the terms and conditions set out above and below.

  • You agree that your successors, executors, administrators and next of kin are bound by the terms and conditions.
  • You agree not to commence any litigation or proceedings in any country in relation to the risks and perils set out above and to indemnify the Operator against any such claims.
  • You confirm that you are physically fit and suffer no medical conditions, which may be aggravated by this activity.
  • You consent to receive medical treatment in the case of injury, accident or illness during the activity and to indemnify the Operator against any claims in respect of this treatment.
  • You agree that any films, sound, video or other recordings taken after or during the activity will not be used in any promotion or advertising without the prior written consent of the Operator, however the Operator may use such recordings itself at its complete discretion without any prior approval.
  • You agree to listen to my driver/guide/staff member, follow their instructions and make sure any children in your care do the same.
  • If you are booking for yourself and others as a group, you are also deemed to be acting on behalf and for those others. You agree you are not acting as a commercial agent or operator.

You agree that the Operator and their staff reserve the right to make any alterations to the itinerary in the interests of safety, comfort or any unforeseen circumstances due to causes such as weather, illness, or misadventure. Every reasonable endeavour will be made to keep to schedules but no guarantee is given. You agree that the Operator will not be held liable for any sickness, injury, damage, cost, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned, either directly or indirectly, by reason of any such weather, illness or misadventure, by any defect in any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, or by any other cause whatsoever, or through acts of default of a company or person engaged in conveying the passengers, or in carrying out arrangements for these tours. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance prior to your trip.

You agree that the Operator reserves the right to exclude or remove a person at any time, if in the sole opinion of the Operator or its staff, that person may be likely to risk the health, safety or comfort (including unsociable behaviour) of other clients, him or herself or the environment. You agree that in such circumstances the Operator will not be obliged to offer any refund and any transport or other fees and costs incurred due to that removal will be at the cost of the client.

4. Age

We do not recommend children under the age of 10 years undertake the trips. You agree that any children under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by you as a consenting adult and that those children are subject to the terms and conditions outlined as if they are a consenting adult.

5. Flights

The Operator reserves the right to alter, amend or cancel any flight, and to replace it for another mode of transport, for any reason whatever including weather, safety, comfort or other circumstance and you agree that no right to compensation or refund will arise from any such alteration, amendment, cancellation or replacement.

6. Personal Injury

In some cases, the fully funded New Zealand Government accident compensation scheme known as ACC (the Accident Compensation Corporation) will cover medical and other costs related to a personal injury incurred while in New Zealand. However, we can not guarantee that such costs will be covered by ACC, and STRONGLY RECOMMEND all walkers carry their own medical/travel insurance while on our walks to cover any medical and/ or related costs (eg helicopter off the track, hospital care, accommodation, missed flights, etc).