A medium level of fitness is required to walk the Island Hills Station Track. The majority of the track is well graded, but there are a few challenging short ascents and descents, plus uneven surfaces and narrow sections in parts. The 3 day walk allows you to take your time, while the 2 day version is for those with a little less time and a little more fitness.
Throughout the season there will be some cold, rainy and some extremely hot conditions so please ensure you and your group are prepared for all weather, as conditions may be very changeable.
We provide a pack/gear carrying service as it makes your walk a lot safer, easier and more enjoyable. You will only need to carry a day pack.
The track is not recommended for young children.
The track covers almost 30km over 2-3 days. The season is from October until mid March and is limited to 10 per group.
Day One 11km 4-6 hours
Difficulty: an easy wide trail to start, leading into some areas of narrow trail with rough uneven surfaces. Care with with footing must be taken.
After the 8:30am departure from the Cook House accommodation and car park you will be delivered to the start point of the walking trail via a 20 minute 4 wheel drive farm tour. The trail initially follows the flat terraces above the banks of the meandering Mandamus river along stock and 4 wheel drive access tracks. After the rockwall foot bridge the track continues into native forest with a few ups and downs above the river gorges, eventually climbing out into open grassy knolls with open views into the big mountain surroundings. You will then follow a historic pack track down into the Organ River to the Valley Camp Huts. For those that want to keep it really cruisy on the first day there are two early exit points to the Valley Camp Huts.
Day Two 9km 4-6 hours
Difficulty: expect rough, uneven ground. Care with footing must be taken.
The second day follows the foothills through belts of native manuka, regenerating beech forest and sub-alpine ridges. There are many small sections of uphill as it climbs and descends over the spurs for 9km to your final night at the Bush Hut.
Day Three 9.5km 3-4 hours
Difficulty: mainly easy walking.
Day three is a very enjoyable easy walk that covers 9.5km through native bush and over high country farmland. You should arrive back at your parked vehicle at the Cook House around lunch time and expect to see your packs arriving by 1pm.
For those choosing the two day walk, days two and three are combined, making for an 18.5km walk over 7-9 hours.
When you are dropped off at the beginning of the track on the first day the track ranger will give you a history of the farm, conservation projects and the surrounding area.
Island Hills Station is a working sheep, cattle and honey farm with it’s own protected conservation reserve.
Fully Equipped Huts
No WiFi or coverage
BBQ's at Each Hut
Bush Hut is the third night accommodation a wonderful forest setting and a real step back in time. Situated in the middle of one of the biggest QEII conservation covenants in the country.
The Valley Camp Hut was built for pest control and mustering and now gives you the chance to spend your second evening in the heart of the high country.