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!

Upper Wilkin Experience : Loved it !

Pat & Greg, Canada

"Jo challenged us with river walks but we never felt unsafe.  She was very instructive and made sure we all understood what we were to do.  She took very good care of us.  I like a bit of a challenge and like pushing myself just a little more than I am comfortable.  This was definitely achieved especially with the river walks.  We saw beautiful scenery, got some very good exercise and spent some quality time with friends, both old and new.The walk up to the foot of Rabbit Pass was my favourite - there was a variety of terrain, a beautiful day, a nice long walk and a great lunch spot!"

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

2019-20 Status
14 - 17 Nov Open
29 Nov - 2 Dec Open
12 - 15 Dec Open
27 - 30 Dec Open
18 - 21 Jan Open
9 - 12 Feb Open
21 - 24 March Open
6 - 9 April C: 3 places available


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 : Client ratio Price per person
1:2 NZ$3,200
1:3-5 NZ$2,400



What's Included
  • all meals and snacks
  • helicopter flight in to Jumboland or Upper Wilkin valley
  • 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 helicopter and fly into the heart of Mount Aspiring Park. A leisurely walk up the river flats of the Upper Wilkin valley brings us to Top Forks Hut.  The afternoon is spent exploring this marvellous valley.

Heading up to Lake Lucidus

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.

Hiking - Mt Aspiring National Park

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.

Water Face - Rabbit Pass

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.

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