The stunning Adelaide Cirque at the head of Moraine Creek is one of Fiordland's hidden gems. Lake Adelaide is surrounded by jagged peaks and massive cliffs. The setting is remote and you need to be fit to carry a full pack on this challenging hike and have some experience on untracked terrain.
Your objective may be to just get away from it all, experience sleeping in one of Fiordland's famous rock bivis, swim in crystal clear tarns or mountain lakes, or to build up your photographic portfolio. There is plenty of subject matter as endangered Rock Wrens bop around the rocks, mist swirls around the precipitous crags and colours change as the sun dips below the peaks and the stars emerge.
"Off the beaten track trips appeal to me. Loved the impressive views all the way along. Bivying out. Accessing an area that few people get to see. Being away from crowded tracks. Oh...and the tomato relish :0)))) I'm delighted to have had an enjoyable trip in and out of this hidden gem."
If you are keen to explore a secluded Fiordland valley, packed with impenetrable rain forest and flanked by precipitous cliffs, then the route from the Hollyford River up Moraine Creek would suit ambitious hikers. The route ascends steeply from the river through pristine bush up to open flats before a final climb up to the top of the remnant moraine wall of past glaciation to look down on Lake Adelaide and the cirque headwall beyond. Sleep under the shelter of bivi rocks, in tents or under the stars.
Clients are to have experience moving through rough terrain (eg tussock, river beds, boulders, scree) and to demonstrate good balance and footwork. Also experience carrying full packs, overnight camping and long hiking days is preferred.
Your guide can meet you at our office in Wanaka or your accommodation in Queenstown. After a gear check we travel the scenic Milford Road to the historic NZAC Homer Hut. The drive is always tinged with excitement as the mountains grow in steepness and scale until the summits are only visible through the sunroof. Have a warm-up hike to Lake Marian or Homer Saddle to look down on the precipitous Cleddau Valley and the ant-like tour buses heading to Milford Sound.
Start early for the hike up Moraine Creek. The track starts from the lower Hollyford Valley in the midst of ancient West Coast rainforest. The track soon crosses the mighty Hollyford river via and exciting wire bridge before climbing steeply up alongside the lower cascades and waterfalls of Moraine Creek. After a few hours, the track leaves the forest and enters the open Tent Flat with the steep sided glacial valley and peaks reaching up on both sides. Either camp in the many tent sides on the flat or carry on a little further along creek beds and scrub to the site of the old Moraine Creek hut.
Continue up the side of the old glacial moraine from which the valley takes it's name. From the top the view opens out down onto Lake Adelaide and across to the cliffs and peaks of the Adelaide Cirque. Spend the day exploring the area, swimming in mountain tarns or taking pictures. You may choose to camp up high to capture the sunset and sunrise or start on your return journey, camping at the hut site, Tent Flat or a Fiordland bivi rock nestled in the bush.
Return back down the track to the Hollyford valley and travel onwards back to Queenstown or Wanaka.
NB : Please note that this itinerary is a sample only and the actual itinerary may vary at the discretion of your guide. Weather, conditions and personal ability and needs may make changes necessary or advantageous to the participants.
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