Milford and Routeburn Tracks Guided Walks receive Qualmark Gold Status.

Queenstown-based hiking specialists, Ultimate Hikes is kicking off the hiking season on a high, after being awarded Qualmark Gold for its guided walk operation on the Milford and Routeburn Track, two of New Zealand's Great Walks.

The gold award is the highest given by Tourism New Zealand. Qualmark explains it as being, "the final seal of approval that signifies the experience they [guests] are paying for is one of the most high quality, safe and sustainable experiences New Zealand has to offer".

Ultimate Hikes operates guided walks on the Milford, Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks in New Zealand's West Coast. Multi-day walks include accommodation in private lodges, three-course meals, hot showers, drying rooms, flush toilets and snug beds.

Noel Saxon, Ultimate Hikes' General Manager, is very proud of the team in achieving this status.

"We couldn't have done it without the support of our staff and walkers - they constantly push us to be better and we thank them for that.

"The Gold status reflects Ultimate Hikes' dedication to sustainable tourism, which is a key factor in every decision we make both on the tracks and off.

"Our commitment to improving our product and reducing our footprint is also reflected in the constant upgrades we make each season."

This season Ultimate Hikes has added four new private rooms on the Milford Track and upgrades to Mitre Peak Lodge in Milford Sound

It also continues to work with the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust, which Noel as the Chair of the trust this year.

He says that Ultimate Hikes staff on both tracks will be contributing to the goal of a predator free environment by actively trapping and monitoring predator activity around the Lodges.

"We are also adding guides and lodge staff for better service and safety," he added.

"The things our walkers don't see are probably the things that matter the most as we strive to provide a safe, comfortable environment while keeping the main attraction - nature at the forefront of every walker's experience."

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