plan your walk

Frequently Asked Questions

We know there's a lot you want to know before you commit to walking with us - or before you begin your adventure, so we have listed below some of those questions we get asked most about.

When do I have to pay for my walk?

We take full payment by card at the time of booking. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. 


What is the cancellation policy?

All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to or Ultimate Hikes Reservations, PO Box 259 Queenstown NZ, 9348.

Cancellation fees for all multi-day walks are charged on the following basis per person:

  • Outside 90 days from the date of walk departure: NZ$100 per person;
  • Between 89-60 days from the date of walk departure: NZ$200 per person;
  • Between 59-21 days from the date of walk departure: 50% of full fare; or
  • Within 21 days of the date of walk departure: 100% of full fare

See Terms and Conditions for more information


Do you have a cancellation policy related to covid

Not at this time.  Our cancellation policy above applies to all walkers.


Do I need travel/medical insurance?

Yes. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you take out your own medical/travel insurance to cover your walk and any circumstances in which you may not be able to walk including covid. In the unlikely event of a medical/accident emergency on the track, a medical evacuation by air will be carried out by New Zealand emergency services which may incur some financial cost.


Do I have to carry my pack or do you transport it? 

You can supply your own or we can provide a 40L backpack for you, this can be collected at the pre-track briefing.

You will carry your own pack from lodge to lodge. We do not offer a service for transporting any additional luggage, except for the Milford bag noted below.


How heavy is the pack?

It's likely to be 5-7 kg (10-14lbs) full, if you follow our recommended equipment list.


Where can I leave my excess baggage while I'm walking?

We recommend for our guests to leave any excess luggage at their pre and post accommodation. We are able to store excess luggage while you are on track, at an additional fee. This can be arranged at the Ultimate Hikes centre on arrival to Queenstown and prior to your briefing. Luggage storage is not available for Te Anau departures and drop offs. For further information, please contact our Reservations team prior to your arrival or the Ultimate Hikes Centre team at your pre-track briefing.

Some suggestions to store luggage can be found here.

Milford Track only:

A small soft bag (we can lend you one) for clothes and personal items for use at Milford Sound will be sent by road from Queenstown to await your arrival.

Please note that because of weight restrictions on our coaches, suitcases and hard carry on bags cannot be transported.


Will I be fit enough?

To enjoy your walk you should be able to carry a medium sized backpack for 5 to 9 hours over 10-21km of mountain track each day. To maximise your enjoyment we encourage you to set your own pace while walking the track, there is no need to keep up with the fastest walkers. There is always a guide at the back of the group. The track surface varies from smooth well-formed paths to rough terrain broken up by rocks and tree roots and we recommend you wear hiking boots, which provide firm ankle support. If you are not a regular walker, we suggest you begin a daily walk regime 6-8 weeks before your departure. Some practice carrying a pack and hill/staircase walking during this time will make you even better prepared for your walk.

Click here for more information


Where can I park my vehicle?

Check with the accommodation you have booked if you can leave it there otherwise there are some options in Queenstown and Te Anau
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What time do I arrive back in Queenstown?

We arrive at approximately 4pm. This arrival time may connect with some flights out of Queenstown. Milford Track walkers can finish at Queenstown airport if required.  To avoid unnecessary stress and to make allowances for delays we strongly recommend you book flights to depart after 6.00pm.


I will be travelling by myself, is that a problem?

No problem. It is a great opportunity to walk with like-minded individuals from around the world.  Please note however that we cannot always guarantee same sex shared rooms - you may be roomed with couples.


What weather should I expect in the month I am walking?

The unpredictable nature of the weather in this region means that snow, high winds and rain can occur at any time of the year. It is therefore very important to be prepared for the worst weather conditions, and carry the appropriate clothing at all times. Generally January and February are warmer, not necessarily dryer. In November and December the mountain lilies are just coming out and there is still snow on the surrounding mountains. If you are a keen photographer this would be the time to walk. The month of March is more settled weather wise: fresh mornings, sunny days, cooler nights and the days are getting shorter. Due to the nature of Fiordland we cannot predict any forecast.

Click here for more information


What clothing do I need to bring?

We suggest you wear fabrics that are lightweight but warm and quick drying such as merino wool, polypropylene, thermal, micro fleece and polar fleece.

For walking: boots, base layer (long sleeve top and leggings), fleece or merino hat, fleece jacket, gloves, shorts, walking socks, t-shirt for fine days.

For evenings: shirt, trousers, underwear, sandals or light shoes, night wear.

See What to Bring for a complete, downloadable list.


Can I wash my clothes?

Yes. Lodges have hand washing facilities with soap powder and drying rooms. Being able to wash and dry clothing helps keep the pack weight down.  Please note that Steele Creek Lodge on the Grand Traverse has limited ability to wash and dry clothes as it doesn't have a drying room.


Is there alcohol on the track?

New Zealand beer and wine is available for purchase at the lodges. This is paid for at the end of your walk.



Smoking and vaping is strictly prohibited in all Lodges and Ultimate Hikes facilities.  Please ask at lodges where the designated smoking area is.


Dietary requirements

Vegetarian options are included in all our menus.   Please advise us of any specific dietary requirements when you make your booking. We will endeavour to cater for them, however please remember we operate in an extremely isolated and challenging environment. 


How many people share the shared rooms?

Shared rooms sleep 4 -6 people in bunk style beds on the Milford and the Routeburn tracks.

The Greenstone track lodges have larger shared rooms that accommodate more people.

All shared rooms have shared bathroom facilities.


How bad are the sandflies?

We recommend you wear insect repellent each day. They are notably worse on the Milford Track. Insect repellent can be purchased from our retail shop.


Are there toilets on the tracks?

All of our lodges have flush toilets. There are also toilets (some flush, some Kiwi long drop style!) at all our lunch shelters and huts.


Is there power in the Lodges for a CPAP Machine?

We are able to supply power to one Private Room for a CPAP Machine at each of our lodges on The Routeburn and Milford Tracks. Please contact us directly to make your booking. Subject to availability.