AN INTREPID HIKE FOR THE EXPERIENCED AND FIT
George Sound Track
This is the hiking challenge for mountaineering buffs familiar with embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures. This epic pilgrimage will lead you all the way from Lake Te Anau to the fiord of George Sound via a challenging yet spectacular route that cuts through the very heart of Fiordland.
Although the track is reasonably well marked, expect to encounter tree falls, river crossings, muddy waters and rough terrain. It’s pure kiwi wilderness at its very best. Absolutely nobody is around. If you love solitude, scenery and the satisfaction of a physical challenge, then the George Sound Track may be for you.
Our charter rate for a drop-off or pick up from Hankinson Hut is $585 for up to 5 people and personal gear. After 5 people, we charge a per person rate of $115 per person. Allow at least 2.5 hours travel time for the trip and we depart/return to Te Anau Downs. Contact us to book this water taxi transfer.
Check out our blog post from a locals experience on the George Sound Track Nov 18.
What to expect
The George Sound is a Route and not a tramping track.
Expert skills and experience are required for this route and any situation can be encountered so hikers need to be prepared. Routes do not get the same priority in maintenance and we often do not know what the situation on the route is like unless there is a significant hazard known to us.
This track is certainly an adventure and the below will help you plan your trip. We also recommend talking to the local Fiordland DOC Visitor Centre before departing so you have the most up to date information.
- This is a challenging tramping route so you will need above average fitness and high-level backcountry (remote areas) skills and experience, including navigation and survival skills. You also need river crossing skills and experience.
- Although the route is reasonably well marked, you can expect to encounter tree falls, knee-deep mud, river crossings, tree roots, and some rough terrain. The track is not well defined in places. It is consistently muddy and wet. Some sections become impassable due to flooding after heavy rain – this is not uncommon and will cause delays.
- You need to be well equipped – taking topo maps and a Personal Locator Beacon and/or mountain radio is essential. An In-Reach device or Satellite phone is even better.
- Take extra days of food in case you are delayed due to weather or flooding.
- Portable stoves for cooking must be carried, as there are no cooking facilities supplied in any of the huts on this route.
- A tent is also required due to the long distance between the George Sound Hut and Thomson Hut.
- Rivers and lakes both prone to rapid rising. Lakes can get very windy and there are few places to land
- You can portage kayak between lakes but single plastic boats are recommended as opposed to fiberglass and/or doubles.
- The route to Mt.Elwood mica mine is not maintained but has old markers still in place. Takes about 4 ½ hours from Thomson hut to the mica mine.
Safety is your responsibility
Before you head into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website.
For the walkers/ fishermen and pack-rafters, Lake Te Anau has Didymo, but the inland lakes and rivers of the George Sound Track do not; therefore you need a Clean Gear Certificate for fishing gear (and pack-rafts or kayaks)from an approved Clean Gear Station (like the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre or we can help you clean your gear and issue you one) for this area. To help prevent the spread of didymo ensure you clean your gear between catchments, and certified watercraft needs to be portaged across Lake Te Anau.