Moonlight Valley & Ben Lomond Backcountry Hike


    enquire now 5 Days From NZD $3,195 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply

    An exclusive high country hike through remote and varied landscapes with a rich and fascinating past.

    This exclusive five-day walk is a fabulous way to experience the rugged ranges behind Queenstown within the high country property of Ben Lomond Station. The walk extends through a variety of spectacular landscapes from tussock ridge lines high above the Shotover River to a heli-hike along the sub-alpine flanks of Ben Lomond. You will explore abandoned gold mining relics, water races, razorback ridges, beautiful beech forests, and river valleys right until the finish, utilising a jetboat for a scenic upriver transfer giving us access to remote trails.

    Accommodation is in the well-appointed Moonlight Lodge where the comfortable lounge room has views of nearby peaks and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the delicious three course meals and kiwi-hospitality from the Foster Family who own the station. Combined with one night of wilderness camping at a secluded spot in the Shotover Canyon, you’ll experience the vast starry skies of the Southern hemisphere.

    Highlights

    • Exclusive backcountry hike on a private station
    • Hike beneath mountains, over golden tussock ridges and through native beech forests
    • Relax in the comfort and beautiful setting of Moonlight Lodge
    • Experience one overnight wilderness camping with views of Skippers Canyon
    • Explore gold mining history and alpine flora and fauna
    • Scenic jetboat transfer up the Shotover River
    • Heli-hike to the Ben Lomond range and summit the peak for impressive views over Lake Wakatipu
    • Learn about NZ high country life from station owners John and Ginny Foster

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Depart Queenstown. Commence hike to Moonlight Lodge
    We collect you from a central city pick up point in Queenstown in the morning, and drive a short distance to the Moonlight Track trail head to commence todays walk. A narrow but well defined trail follows one of the most dramatic and scenic valleys in the Wakatipu Basin. Our route descends into the old gold mining settlement of Sefferstown which was a gold rush tent village with over 3,000 occupants at its peak in 1863. Following Moonlight Creek, the trail undulates beneath bluffs with views of soaring tussock covered ridges and native forest before coming to a plateau where the impressive Moonlight Lodge is located, overlooking sweeping tussock terraces and stunning beech forest. As day turns to night we savour the sun setting behind mountain silhouettes and a star-studded sky – one of the clearest and darkest skies in the southern hemisphere and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our hosts, John and Ginny Foster. The lodge consists of comfortable double/twin ensuite rooms along with open plan lounge and dining areas (licensed bar) which are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the large stone fireplace and commanding views. Hiking distance: approx. 14km – Time: approx. 6hrs with breaks (L, D)

    Day 2 Moonlight Lodge to Blue Jacket Hut
    From the lodge we climb along a ridgeline which separates the Shotover River and Moonlight River valleys and offers breath-taking views of the Southern Alps. After lunch we drop off the ridge and descend via steep switchbacks to cross Blue Jacket Creek and follow a rough trail to our campsite, located on a terrace overlooking the Shotover River. 2 person tents will be supplied and meals will be prepared and enjoyed in the rustic hut before enjoying the ‘star show’ once the long evening night sky turns dark.  The hut is fully equipped for cooking, yet has no facilities for sleeping. It provides a homely and unique setting for our night in the outdoors. Hiking distance: approx. 11km – Time: approx. 8hrs with breaks (B, L, D)

    Day 3 Blue Jacket Hut to Moonlight Lodge including scenic jet boat ride
    An early morning breakfast prepared by our guides will fuel us for another day of hiking along the exclusive high-country trails of Ben Lomond Station. We break camp and drop down to the Shotover River where a jetboat will be waiting to take us up-river for a scenic and informative ride and give us an opportunity to see the river and canyons from a different perspective. We disembark at Maori Point which was one of the earliest and richest alluvial gold mining beaches in the Shotover Valley (1863). We follow trails back to Moonlight Lodge via the Stoney Creek water race. The majority of this part of the walk is on well-formed tracks, passing through native beech forests where the song of bird calls is clear. We return to Moonlight Lodge where a well-deserved cold drink and shower awaits and can be enjoyed along with another delicious meal and warm hospitality from the Foster family. Hiking distance: approx. 13km – Time: approx. 7hrs with breaks (B, L, D)

    Day 4 Exploring Moonlight Creek
    Todays hike will take us deep into beech forests, exploring mountain streams and waterfalls. We discover the remnants of the gold mining times whilst walking along the historical water races and Moonlight Creek where a cooling swim is possible. After a picnic lunch we return to our accommodation where the remainder of the afternoon can be spent enjoying the comfortable surrounds of Moonlight Lodge and the mountain vistas. Hiking distance: approx. 7km – Time: approx. 4hrs with breaks (B, L, D)

    Day 5 Heli-hike on Ben Lomond Range. Descend to Queenstown
    After a final hearty breakfast, we farewell our hosts and leave Moonlight Lodge by helicopter. A heli-hike takes us trekking far from the valley floor and into the extraordinary sub-alpine environment of Ben Lomond (1748m). The skilled pilot will land us on the north west ridge of Ben Lomond and then we are left in silence. We will aim to walk through the tussocks up a broad ridgeline to the summit of Ben Lomond, a climb of up to 500m. From here there are awe-inspiring panoramas of Lake Wakatipu, the distant Remarkable and Richardson Ranges, along with the mountains and valleys we have been exploring over the past 4 days. We descend until we reach the Skyline Gondola, which provides a quick ride down into Queenstown and then a short walk to the central luggage collection point. A final drink together to celebrate our Moonlight adventure concludes the trip. Hiking distance: approx. 11km – Time: approx. 5 hrs (B, L)

    Inclusions

    • Delicious home cooked meals (4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners)
    • 3 nights well appointed lodge with electricity and hot showers (twin share)
    • 1 night wilderness camping using a private mountain hut for meals (shared facilities)
    • 2 professional qualified hiking guides
    • Scenic jetboat transfer on day 2, heli-hike on day 5, Skyline Gondola descent on day 5 of tour
    • Luggage transfer (15kgs max) on day 1 and day 5
    • Snacks and water while hiking
    • Private vehicle transport to trail head
    • Packs and poles (on request if required) – please let our staff know in advance
    • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare

    WEX-MSQ

    Images courtesy of World Expeditions and Colin Monteath