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Hidden Falls Hut, Fiordland National Park

The 12-bunk Hidden Falls Hut. Photo: Alistair Hall
Fiordland National Park
Hidden Falls Hut ($15, 12 bunks)
Hollyford Road end car park
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There is no shortage of tracks along the Milford Highway for those wanting to sample, in a day or two, some of the amazing bush and mountain trails on offer in Fiordland National Park. Perhaps one that is overlooked in favour of classics like Lake Marian or Gertrude Saddle is the track to Hidden Falls Hut.

But this riverside bush walk offers a perfect introduction to the four to five-day Hollyford Track for those short on time.

In addition, there’s a stunning waterfall and endless peaks to gaze at. From the car park, you soon cross the bridged Humboldt Creek and make the short descent to the valley floor. The trail is mostly flat with a few ups and downs – tellingly, the highest point on the entire 56km Hollyford Track is Little Homer Saddle at 143m. You won’t be pushed hard on this walk.

Swamp Creek is a good spot to have a break for lunch. About 2km on from Swamp Creek, the Hollyford River swings over from the other side of the valley to run right beside the track. In summer, it would be magnificent to cool off in the slow-flowing turquoise green water.

As always, the fortress-like Darran Mountains provide endless excuses to look skywards.

The track meanders beside the river for another 3km, at one point passing a section of rock wrapped in wire mesh to catch rock fall.

At a large, sweeping bend in the river, the track heads east for a brief period, up Hidden Falls Creek to a suspension bridge and Hidden Falls. These 31m falls are an impressive sight and even on the opposite side of the creek we were enveloped in the fine mist generated by surging water smashing against the rocks.

Hidden Falls Hut is just 10-minutes on from the falls and is sited in a clearing near the centre of the valley.

The views are stupendous: looking south and west the Darrans marched into the distance while to the north the Skippers Range dominated the valley’s head.