Ultimate Hikes
Ultimate Hikes
5
About
The only operators of multiday guided walks on the famous Milford & Routeburn Tracks: operating in New Zealand's stunning World Heritage Area, providing a 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.
Queenstown, New Zealand

Awards
Travellers' Choice
2023

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,060 reviews
Excellent
984
Very good
49
Average
14
Poor
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Terrible
7

trudimc
Melbourne, Australia36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
Ultimate hikes delivered the ultimate hiking experience - with the luxury of a hot shower, delicious three course cooked dinner and a very comfy warm bed every night. There was even the option to purchase a drink or two to accompany dinner. How very civilised!!!
This is a hike in the mountains, in a rain forest where the precipitation is measured in METERS per year so there is obviously mud! And slips. And avalanches over winter destroy sections of track. Trees fall down… the track cannot be guaranteed but it is fantastically well maintained by DOC and well sign posted. The terrain is challenging at times, with the descent from the McKinnon Pass probably the hardest section of the track. You’ll know you’ve done some exercise by the end of day 4!
The guides we had were just amazing. Caitlin, Haisley, Alex and Declan were unfailingly kind, helpful and cheerful. They were around to help and keep tabs on us, but didn’t hover.
I recommend Ultimate Hikes with no reservations BUT the onus is on the hiker to be physically and mentally prepared, and to have the right gear. This is not a luxury vacation, it’s a NZ tramp! I loved it and feel very proud of my 56 year old body!
Written 22 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TanjavPeer
Wellington, New Zealand11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
I can not fault the guides, lodgies or the operational set up!
The guides, Haizley, Alex, Caitlin and Declan, we’re awesome! Caring, compassionate, knowledgeable, patient, organised and funny. They worked so hard to make sure everyone had a great experience! Daily briefings were helpful and informative.
Accomodation was comfortable and generator off by 2200 made it easy to sleep.
Food was great.
The walk itself was magnificent, hard going in places but super rewarding!
Thanks for looking after my blisters!
The comrade die in our group was great! Met some great people
Written 22 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AdamsTheGap
Brisbane, Australia49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
Well run, professional,
safe operation all round.
Guides, office and lodge staff all helpful, responsive and supportive on all fronts.
Highly recommend Ultimate Hikes. Milford track beautiful. Take your togs as the swimming opportunities are not to be missed!
Written 18 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne-Marie H
23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
We just completed the Routeburn Track with Ultimate Hikes and it was wonderful.
The information provided before, during and after was excellent. The guides were fun, professional and hard working.
(Kena, George, Lara and Sam)
The facilities were excellent. It would’ve been great to have more time to spend at each lodge.
Written 14 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

madelynemjay
Hollywood, FL113 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
PROS:
When thinking of a remote vacation, I like to factor in a lot of walking, to make up for any indulging in might inevitably do. The fact we went on a 13-day cruise before this hike meant I would need to do a lot of walking! When my husband talked to me about the Milford Track, I thought “well, I can do that!” Perfect follow up to the cruise. Little did I know this hike would challenge my limits and offer the most amazing views I could imagine.
We were two couples and not exactly youngsters so the Ultimate Hikes New Zealand package seemed the perfect workout. Yes, we would be shlepping our clothing and personal items but we would be staying in lodges every night and 3 meals a day would be provided. How tough could it be?We scheduled it for March 3-7, which is their summer but the climate in that area is extremely unpredictable - can vary from snow to heat wave and the forecast is constantly changing.
I can’t deny the anticipation was scaring me - carrying heavy backpacks, hiking at least 10 miles a day in rocky terrain, not knowing if I was prepared for the weather.
The day before our hike, we all gathered at the Ultimate Hikes office to pick up backpacks and were given a brief rundown on what to expect over the next 5 days. Last chance to back out! (No refunds offered.)
We met early the next morning for a bus ride, boat ride and short hike into a veritable jungle. We had 4 young energetic guides, Scott, Mia, Alex and Caitlin. They were amazing - professional, caring, engaging, experienced, energetic and pretty mature.
Each of the 4 lodges we stayed in were rustic and rather basic but they had amazing views. Electricity was provided by generators and worked from 6am to 10pm. Calling it summertime is rather a misnomer as temperatures at bedtime and mornings ran in the 30's to 40's and the radiators didn’t start working til maybe 7pm. There was barely enough time to warm up the room. Hot to warm evening showers were good but forget morning showers! Yes there were plenty of blankets but it would have been nicer if we had a little more time for heat!
As to food, we were all very impressed with the creativity and quality offered. Each night we had an hour or so before dinner to shower and change. During that time there was a bar for drinks and snacks, including chips, crackers, cheeses, dips and veggies. As to dinner, we chose from 3 options and being vegetarian there was always an option for us, with or without fish. From lamb chops and beef stew to potato curry and quinoa patties. Even the desserts were great - flan, apple crumble, brownies.
Breakfast was a hectic time. First, we made and packed our lunches. Lots of sauces, veggies, meats and cheese to choose from to make wraps or sandwiches. There were also homemade snacks and fresh fruit. Then we had breakfast - hot cereal, toast, jams and jellies, poached eggs, beans, anything and everything to give you energy for the day. Whoever created vegemite should be arrested. Gross!
When we first arrived from the boat, it was afternoon and walked only about 1 mile. Just a little taste of what was to come. As it was raining lightly, our clothing got a bit wet. Each lodge offered two drying rooms - one hotter than the other. We were told not to put our boots in the hotter room as it could melt the glue and ruin them. I did see someone with taped shoes so I guess they were right. Sometimes it helped but most times using the hair dryer was a better option.
That night, like each night, one of the guides did a short presentation and then told us what to expect on the next day’s hike. The next day was going to have a cold front pass and there was a possibility of extreme rain. Because of that, we were given a warning there would be a chance of major flooding and we may need to be evacuated via helicopter to the next lodge? Really? We were all weighed in the event we needed to be airlifted. Now that was an unexpected development!
Luckily we were advised the next morning the rain was less than expected and we would be continuing the hike as planned. Whew! The first day was pretty rough but gave us a good taste of the terrain. This part of New Zealand is one of the wettest places in the world (being a rain forrest) and a few people told us that it is best during the rain. Didn’t sound ideal but that day it rained lightly all day and indeed there were waterfalls everywhere. Just magical. At a few locations we stopped and the guides provided hot coffee, hot chocolate or a hot orange drink. And lunch stops usually provided some sort of shelter. Every now and then we were visited by very friendly birds that seemed to escort us on our journey. They were very curious and sang beautiful songs for us.
Each day we started together but everyone walked at their own pace. Guides were spaced to make sure they kept an eye on us.
The second day was the first full day hike. About 10 miles of gentle ups and downs but very rocky and lots of unavoidable puddles as it rained on and off. At the end of that first day, our legs were sore and we felt a sense of accomplishment. Once again the drying rooms came in handy.
The third day was really a challenge. We padded our shoes with wool to cushion our toes and trimmed our toe nails to prepare for the steep decline. It also helped with any blisters that developed. We started at an altitude of 1500’, gradually went up to 3,500 and sharply down to 800’. Terrain was really very rocky. Luckily we had good hiking shoes and poles. We were told the night before temperatures were going to be low (maybe as low as 19 degrees) and there would be the possibility of snow. Sure enough, we went from light rain to flurries and sleet. Amazing. Cold, very difficult but beautiful. The climb up was a cardio workout. Progress was slow and deliberate. Being cold, we had to be aware of slush, ice and slippery surfaces. The downward part of the hike was quite a workout for our knees. That’s where the wool in our shoes helped. It was quite an accomplishment to complete that leg of the hike.
The last hike day was again more or less flat but the few huge downed trees and boulders we had to negotiate reminded us this was still nature at its best. And 13.5 miles felt like a bitter sweet end to our journey.
Day five we packed our lunches as usual and ate breakfast. Then we went on a 1 1/2 hour boat ride, that explored a bit of the fjords. We saw sea lions and more waterfalls while sipping delicious coffee and snapping more pictures.
Soon we arrived at the location to board a bus that would shuttle us back to Queenstown, where we started our journey. We stopped along the way for lunch. We finished sore and exhausted but with a true sense of accomplishment. Not everyone gets the opportunity to experience such a challenging and beautiful trip. For sure it will be a memory for a lifetime.

CONS:
To wake up to no heat, with overnight temperatures in the 30’s, is pretty ridiculous. With the generator off, the water was ice cold so no morning showers and brushing our teeth with ice water was not pleasant. I guess they don’t care since they are fully booked all year.
For the exorbitant cost of this vacation, I was shocked we did not get anything to celebrate completing the hike- no t-shirt, no wine, no award…. Not even a simple certificate of completion. They called the last dinner a “celebratory dinner” - we had to buy our own drinks to celebrate. What did Ultimate Hikes do to add to the celebration?
To make this experience truly “Ultimate” wouldn’t take too much more effort for the organization. The employees are amazing and work incredibly hard to give customers a great experience. Too bad the owners don’t think its customers are worth going the extra mile as well.
Written 10 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

stbathans
Auckland, New Zealand33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
As a family we walked the Routeburn Track (Jan 2024) and Milford Track (Jan 2023) with our 3 kids, teens/ young adults, and we had a fabulous time. I recommend these walks for families. Great memories
Written 8 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James F
25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We had an absolutely wonderful experience on the Milford Track with Ultimate Hikes. Everything about the way the company handled things was excellent. Pre-hike communications were informative, the logistics and organization were flawless, and the staff were uniformly excellent. We, as well as others in our hiking group, commented frequently on how great the guides were, and the same can clearly be said for Ultimate Hikes staff in the office and working behind the scenes. The guides provide clear descriptions of what to expect each day. Though the guides are always available, hikers are free to hike at their own pace. Guides are informative, helpful, fun and a joy to be around. The lodges are amazing - rooms are clean and comfortable, drying rooms do an excellent job keeping clothing and boots ready for another day on the track, and the food is outstanding. Oh yes - the scenery! The Milford Track hike is beautiful. Granted, we were lucky to have good weather. But we have to believe the experience would be great under most any circumstances as long as Ultimate Hikes is involved. Thank you!!
Written 6 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SuperShan1
Singapore, Singapore1,276 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We did the routeburn trek with them this time. 12 years ago we used them for Milford Treks, it was very good back then. This year service has dropped as most are young and inexperienced. The start of the trip in the bus at 615am, they told us we can take a snooze for an hour, end up the guides are very excited is like their first day at field trip, talking loudly about their party last night etc that we move our seats to the back.

The 1st day was pouring badly and no guides are on sight as there're quite a few dangerous crossing. Luckily husband and I are seasoned trekkers but would be a fatal fall if someone is older or poorly equipped shoes.

My partner profile was clearly marked Gluten Free and we were sent many forms to fill up before the trek. Yet 1st day packed lunch my partner has no GF prepared. I can also hear the guides amongst themselves saying we did not inform them prior to the trip. As we paid NZ 4,800 for private rooms in this 3D2N event, we do expect better. Food was ordinary, hot breakfast is very limited (like 1 egg per person).
The haversack they provided are so uncomfortable, I feel I'm transported to year 2000. Considering the amount they charge and having a monopoly, they really can do better in their equipment. Also their rain jacket is SO HUGE I can hardly see anything when I wear it.

There's great room for another player to come in and build a super luxurious hotel+ offer carry bags to the next lodge.
Written 2 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rena P
Melbourne, Australia20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
I can't speak highly enough of our Milford Track experience with Ultimate Hikes. They got everything right. Great food, comfortable lodgings in beautiful environments and everything a hiker needs to enjoy the Milford Track: drying rooms, briefings on the following day's hiking and kind, patient, knowledgeable guides. I really want to go out on another walk with them as soon as possible.
Written 5 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

raglantripper
Raglan, New Zealand272 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
This really was the ultimate experience we walked the Milford Track and had the best experience ever
The staff are very very good passionate and super friendly they over amazing care for the clients we regularly saw examples of staff helping trampers with medical issues
The food was incredible and we had cooked breakfast everyday and the lunch station where you got to make your sandwich's was very good lots of variety and home baking was brilliant
Lastly we had the best weather ever
We are a couple in our early sixties and we both agreed this was a fantastic experience
Lastly the views were breathtaking we would definitely use this company again thanks Ultimate Hikes you really delivered for us
Written 27 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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