Hiking & Packrafting the Pyke River in New Zealand

Last Updated on September 21, 2020

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. Nowadays, this country is becoming progressively popular for hiking because it has the southern alps which are a chain of mountains. Besides that, it has Lake McKerrow, Devil Trail Hut, and Fiordland National Park which can provide you some of the best hikes you have ever experienced.

Hiking & Packrafting the Pyke River in New Zealand

New Zealand is not only good for hiking but also it is suitable for packrafting. As we know, packrafting is a mix of kayaking and tramping. So, we need to paddle like a kayak while maintaining the stability of the boat. And of course, we should paddle in a river which has class ii or iii wave trains.

New Zealand has got some rivers that have adequate wave trains for packrafting. And these rivers are Hollyford River, Pyke River, etc. Here we have described in details about these places below:

The Hollyford-Pyke Loop

Many hikers consider the Hollyford-Pyke Loop as an ideal place for multi-day packrafting. There you will find a river which is heading out to sea, and with that, it is heading back inland, which means it becomes suitable for a loop. You need to start rafting in the Hollyford River straight away, and you should head directly north towards the west coast while paddling across the Lake McKerrow.

After reaching the beach, you can go hiking towards the end of Big Bay. From there, you may walk towards the Pyke River. When you are on the Pyke, you can begin rafting back down to where the Pyke meets the Hollyford River. Then, you should walk back to the Hollyford Trail.

Hollyford River

The Hollyford River is the first spot where you need to go to enjoy your paddling. You should head from north to the west coast. The first sections of the Hollyford River are straightforward and gentle rapid trains. There are also a few class II- fast wave trains, but most of them are class I. You may find it difficult to avoid the strainer logs in the water as there are lots of tree falls.

Pyke River

The Pyke River is a beautiful place; it has deep turquoise waters, small waterfalls and the area is covered with Snow Mountains. So, undoubtedly, it is a suitable place to spend quality time. Besides packrafting, you can also set camp there. As there are plenty of flat areas, you can pitch a tent.

Like the Hollyford River, it also has some obstacles like strainers, which are made up of fallen trees. There is another thing you need to remember while packrafting in the Pyke River, which is it becomes deep when you cross the strainer areas.

For hiking, you can choose two essential places in New Zealand, which are the Lake McKerrow and the Devil Trail Hut. Both areas can provide you the maximum thrill.

Lake McKerrow

You can hike alongside the Lake McKerrow. Besides seeing the beautiful scenarios of the lake, you can enjoy the adventure. And you can end the walk when you reach the Devil Trail Hut. Mostly it will take one hour to complete your hiking.

Devil Trail Hut

After reaching the Devil Trail Hut, first, you need to set up your camp. Then you should collect a small amount of firewood so that you can use them to light the fire when it is night. However, if you don’t want to spend the night there, you are going to miss the ultimate beauty of the Devil Trail.

Time Required

You can complete your journey in 5-7 days, and it depends on your ability level. Most travelers take six days to finish the adventure. They spend two of the six days doing hiking, and the rest four days they spend in paddling. However, you can follow the same method to enjoy your hiking and packrafting.

Final Words

Although New Zealand’s ordinances allow you to hike, paddle, camp, and explore the country with no restrictions, it is not a suitable place for beginners. New Zealand has a temperate climate, and it can turn with lots of rain, wind, and cold. So, it would be better for you to go always with experience people.

If you don’t want to go with an expert, then we recommend you carry a hiking GPS lest you should get in trouble and there is no one to help you out. In this way, you can make the overall experience even better.


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