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“Grand Traverse”
Review of Ultimate Hikes

Ultimate Hikes
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Ultimate Nature Experience from Queenstown: Dart River Jet Boat Ride and Lake...
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Owner description: The only operators of multiday guided walks on the famous Milford & Routeburn Tracks: operating in New Zealand's stunning World Heritage Area, providing range of all-inclusive guided walks from 1-8 days. Trek through rainforests, past mountain peaks and over remote alpine passes on a unique experience without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Accommodation on overnight walks is in luxury lodges, with meals, hot showers and snug beds. All walks include transport, food, equipment and expert guides. Single day excursions must be booked 24 hours in advance.
Reviewed 25 January 2012

This is my second time with Ultimate Hikes. I loved this trek as much as I loved Milford when I did it!

The guides are great - albeit very busy! The walk is spectacular and the views breathtaking!

My only criticism would be to have an extra guide on the Greenstone leg - just to pick up some of the slack at the lodge so the 4 guides are not so extremely busy. At times I felt like I was interrupting or inconveniencing them by asking for something... However, they were always very accommodating.

Had an absolute ball - and looking forward to the eventual addition of the Kepler track to the Ultimate Hikes offerings!

1  Thank thetravellingcircus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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658 - 662 of 739 reviews

Reviewed 24 January 2012

We had an amazing time on the Milford Track with Ultimate Hikes in January 2012. As other commenters have noted, there are two ways to walk the Milford Track: guided with Ultimate Hikes (staying in their lodges) or independent (staying in DOC huts). We wanted the benefit of cooked meals and a private room plus the logistical support of getting to and from the track so decided to go with Ultimate Hikes despite the cost.

Ultimate Hikes operates like a Swiss watch: it's an efficient and extremely slick operation. Nothing is left to chance. The company provides friendly, well-trained guides and comfortable lodges located in the absolutely stunning setting of Fiordland National Park. We thought the meals were generally good and really enjoyed meeting other hikers from around the world.

Note that "guided walk" does not mean that everyone walks in a single file line. You choose your own pace. We were a little worried going in that a guided walk might feel too much like a tour group. Sometimes it did feel this way but generally we didn't mind. In fact we really liked the group dynamic, particularly in the evenings. That being said, there were a few times where we felt overly-babied - a lengthy pre-hike orientation and nightly slide shows breaking out the next day minute-by-minute didn't seem necessary and a post-walk "awards ceremony" was cheesy. Moreover, we felt at times that Ultimate Hikes was a bit too driven by the bottom line - guides would badger people about signing/paying bar bills and walkers were greeted at Sandfly Point by a photographer who later tried to sell us photo packages. The last night's lodge even had its own Ultimate Hikes gift shop. Come on, this isn't Disneyland!

None of this, however, diminished the total experience, which was absolutely wonderful. Doing it over again we would probably still go with the guided walk. All in all, Ultimate Hikes is expensive but really does a competent job of putting it all together. As for the Milford Track, well, there just aren't enough superlatives. "The finest walk in the world" it very well may be.

8  Thank Bruin1997
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2012

It was a wonderful experience to have walked "the finest walk in the world".
Everything was very well organized and arranged. For example, previous day guidance, retail shop, rental, busses, lodges, drying room, breakfasts, self made sandwiches (and onigiri- rice balls!), dinners and especially, professional guides.
I could complete to walk 55km up and down track without problem, with happy feeling.
The track was really, really beautiful.
Milford Sound Tour is also included on the fifth day.
I would like to come back again.

1  Thank hangover1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

Ultimate Hikes NZ is the competetively-licensed sole provider of guided and hosted hikes along the Greenstone, Routeburn, and Milford Tracks. They run a first-class operation, shielding clients from some of the more tedious aspects of adventure hiking, such as getting permits and carrying food and bedding, while giving plenty of attention to the more pleasant aspects, such as viewing the fantastic New Zealand mountains, waterfalls, and fjords. The guides, mostly young and many multi-lingual, are enthusiastic, well trained, and fun to be with. The fellow hikers, often people from every corner of the globe, quickly become acquaintances with whom you can spend many interesting hours conversing about the wonders of the land through which you are walking and what brought them there. Oh, and not only is the food provided at the lodge/huts good and plentiful, there are warm showers, drying rooms for wet clothing, and cold beer. My wife and I agreed that hiking just doesn't get much better than this.

2  Thank Orcas_Island_Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

Thank you to Ultimate Hikes, Shaun, Julia, katie and Jordan. we had a fantastic experience. The airlines lost my bags and the company let me borrow clothing for the hike. The food was fantastic, could not fault the food quality and quantity. The huts were great, 5 star camping. Everyone was friendly and you didnt feel like you were part of such a large group whilst walking, it was awesome that you could just do your own thing. Loved it!!!

Thank Fiona F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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