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A 4 day wilderness hike into a remote area in the heart of the of the Mt Aspiring National Park.

The 4 day Mt Aspiring Wilderness Hike is a trip into the heart of the Mt Aspiring National Park. This is a true New Zealand wilderness experience involving travel through alpine valley systems, walking through beach forests, crossing rivers, visiting glacial lakes, and viewing snow capped glaciated mountains towering above the valley floor… truly spectacular!

Queenstown Mountain Guides use a fixed wing aircraft or helicopter to fly into the Wilkin Valley. From here it is a two hour hike up the valley to Top Forks Hut. At the end of the trip we will hike back down the Wilkin Valley and take a jet boat for the ride out, an awesome way to end the trip!

The Mt Aspiring Wilderness Hike is also suitable for families and can be tailored to your groups fitness level, previous experience, and thirst for adventure. It is possible to make long days exploring the high glacial lakes, or to simply enjoy the lakes, rivers, beach forest, and scenery closer to Top Forks Hut.

This glacial carved landscape of the Mt Aspiring National Park is host to a wide variety of interesting flora and fauna. The Silver beech is the valleys most dominant tree. Above the bush line you will find snow tussock grasslands and herb fields with alpine flowers including mountain buttercups and daisies. You are likely to see a wide variety of birdlife including the South Island Fantail, Rifleman, Bellbird, the Yellow Crowned Parakeet, the Mohua (Yellowhead), and possibly the New Zealand pigeon.


Mt Aspiring National Park.


Your guide will pick you up at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at your accomodation. 


Note that this itinerary is a sample only. Your final itinerary is subject to weather and other conditions.

Day 1

The trip starts with a 1.5 hours from Queenstown to Makarora and the Mt Aspiring National Park. From here we fly by helicopter or fixed wing into Jumboland in the Mt Aspiring national Park. From here it is a 2 hour walk with some easy river crossings to a remote hut at the head of the valley. Once at the hut you will be able to settle in and become familiar with the surrounding valley.

Day 2

Today we will head up the North Branch of the Wilkin Valley. This is an excellent day trip starting with a journey up through the forest and into the sub alpine zone to Lake Diana & Lucidus. Lake Lucidus is a spectacular moraine lake that was form when the glacier receded. Beyond Lake Lucidus the hiking becomes more challenging as it climbs higher into the alpine towards Lake Castalia. 

Day 3

The South Branch of the Wilkin Valley climbs towards Waterfall Flat & Rabbit Pass. The track starts with a climb through the beach forest and up into a steep sided gorge with waterfalls and high mountains above. For the adventurous it is possible to climb all the way to Waterfall Flat for incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Day 4

Todays journey follows the river down the valley through beach forest to Kerin Forks hut. Our route takes us on a journey through spectacular forest, across and through the Jumboland and Wonderland flats (named for the spectacular scenery). Once we reach Kerin Forks it is a one hour jet boat ride down the lower Wilkin River back to Makarora… an exhilarating way to finish the trip!


1 to 6
4 days
From $2,100
November to April



  • Experienced local mountain guide
  • Flight into mountains
  • Jet boat ride out
  • Meals and snacks
  • Pick up and drop off at accomodation
  • Group equipment


  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Optional flight out


Experience required

You need to be comfortable carrying a pack with overnight gear and travelling through untracked areas and over uneven terrain.

Clothing & equipment

Hiking & climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.

Accomodation during the trip

On the Mt Aspiring Wilderness Hike we will stay at Top Forks Hut. This is a basic backcountry hut with open plan dormitory style room and cooking area. 

If you stay in Queenstown or Wanaka as part of your trip we will reimburse you for hostel style accomodation at a rate of $40 per person per night. This may happen if you are delayed entering the mountains. Being based in Queenstown during poor weather in the high mountains will enable us to use the Remarkables mountain range as often this is sheltered from the worst of the Southern Alps weather.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget.

Guide to participant ratios

The Mt Aspiring Wilderness Hike is a privately guided small group trip. We guide guide this trip at a maximum guide/guest ratio of 1:4 

Top Forks Hut Wilkin River Valley
Helicopter flight into Wilkin valley
Hiking through beach forest Mt Aspiring Wilderness experience
Remote alpine lake Mt Aspiring national park

Mike from Queenstown Mountain Guides arranged a fabulous back-country hiking & climbing trip for myself and my two children. He did a great job of picking a route that was adventurous and challenging but still suitable for a family. He was super professional to deal with on all aspects of the trip. As a guide, he is the real deal: extremely experienced, calm and professional, and very pleasant company.

Rob, Singapore.