Upper Wilkin Experience 4 day


The Upper Wilkin Valley is located in the north end of Aspiring National Park.  Waterfalls, glaciers and native rain forest - this is a great place to visit!

..an excellent adventure

Kennedy Family

4 day Upper Wilkin Wild Walk "The flight and jet-boat were the “wow” factors. The fully catered aspect was also appealing as it reduced the load to be carried in and out. And the fact that the walks were based from the same hut, and the day-trips could be tailored to meet the fitness levels gave us the confidence that it would be a good trip. Favourite part of the trip ?  That’s tough… there were great aspects to each day: the flight, scenery, seeing the kids enjoying themselves, the lakes, the forest, and the jet boat ride was a fitting end to an excellent adventure."

More Information

The Upper Wilkin Experience is located in the heart New Zealand's Mount Aspiring National Park. The hiking trip is based out of Top Forks Hut with day walks ranging from very challenging to easy.  This area is one of New Zealand's great treasures. The mountains here form a glaciated cirque named by one of the South Islands great explorers, Charles Douglas. Names were important to Douglas and he saved the best for the best with magnificent hiking at the feet of Castor, Pollux, Mercury, Vesta, Juno, and Apollo.

Our professional hiking guide will ensure your safety as we explore this remote and seldom visited area. Hiking times are kept achievable (approximately 5-6 hours hiking a day) to leave time for relaxing photography or side trips. All food, energy snacks & any tent or camping gear is supplied; all you carry is a pack with your own personal gear, with room for lunch, water & snacks each day.

25-30 litre pack   5-8kg

Available Dates

2017 - 2018 Status
Mar 30 - Apr 2 Completed
Apr 15 - 18 Open
Apr 24 - 27 Open
no trips over winter  
Oct 27 - 30 Open
Nov 10 - 13 Open
Dec 5 - 8 Open
Jan 5 - 8 Open
Jan 20 - 23 Open
Feb 6 - 9 Open
Feb 22 - 25 Open
Mar 8 - 11 Open
Mar 18 - 21 Open
Apr 3 - 6 Open
Apr 17 - 20 Open


C = confirmed departure

Join a scheduled departure or book a private or custom trip to suit you.



This hike is perfect for people who are unsure about just how difficult a trip they should tackle.  At the end of each day we return to Top Forks Hut, so you are free to push yourself just as hard as you want.  The day trips that go all the way to Lake Castalia or Waterfall Flat can be quite challenging but if people prefer to have a more leisurely day they can do a shorter day.  While some people have pushed a long way up to the glaciers, other people sometimes swim and sunbathe the day away within a kilometer of the hut.  The final day is a 7 hour hike back to Kerin Forks to meet the jetboat.  The track follows the Wilkin River and while there are short up and downs it loses little overall vertical.  There is an option to fly out (at additional cost). Hikers should be moderately fit, children above the age of 10 usually do fine if they are keen on hiking.

Price Details

Guide Ratio Price
1:2 NZ $2,175
1:3-5 NZ $1,795



What's Included
  • all meals and snacks
  • fixed wing or helicopter flight in to Jumboland or Top Forks hut
  • jet boat ride out
  • all tents/ camping gear if required.
  • guide fees, permits and 15% goods and service tax (GST)

Please note that if a flight out of the mountains is required there will be a surcharge.  Price varies depending upon loadings at the time and helicopter availability.

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

We meet with transport and guide at 8:30 a.m. and travel 45 minutes to the small village of Makarora. Here we board a fixed wing aircraft and fly into the heart of Mount Aspiring Park. A leisurely 2-hour walk brings us to the Top Forks Hut. The walking is not difficult but it is exciting with numerous river crossings and your first taste of wilderness travel. The afternoon is spent exploring this marvelous valley.

Family trip in Upper Wilkin

Day Two

This day is spent discovering the three alpine lakes known as Diana, Lucidus, and Castilia. The trail climbs gradually as it weaves through native beech forest until breaking out above tree line. The hiking to the final lake, Lake Castalia, is some of the most rugged (and rewarding) terrain you will ever encounter. This day can be as long as you like, from 1 hour to 6 hours.

New Zealand fauna

Day Three

The hike to Waterfall Flat climbs from dense forest into the high alpine. It is a magnificent climb as the trail rises through Snow-Bridge Gorge, a deep canyon surrounded by glaciers and waterfalls. The trail is challenging until it opens out into the incomparable Waterfall Flat. Surrounded by high peaks and flowing rivers, this seldom visited valley is a unique New Zealand paradise. 6-7 hours return.


Day Four

We head down river to the Kerin Forks to meet the jet boat. This is a gentle downhill grade for 6-7 hours along the north bank of the great Wilkin River. The track is challenging with numerous side stream crossings. A thrilling 1-hour jet boat ride brings us back to our van and the return to Wanaka.


Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for hiking in New Zealand.

Back to Top