Wanaka Mountain Guides

Adelaide Cirque Trek

The Adelaide Cirque Trek is a challenging off-the-beaten track journey through the rugged Darran mountains of Fiordland National Park. Starting in the lower Hollyford valley and taking in Moraine Creek, Lake Adelaide, the infamous Gifford’s Crack, Adelaide Saddle, and Barrier Knob to Gertrude Saddle.


Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Hollyford Valley

Day 1:

After meeting in Wānaka or Queenstown, we travel to the Hollyford Valley, deep in Fiordland National Park.

The starts in the lower valley and crosses the Hollyford River via a three-wire bridge and climbs steeply up through the beech forest alongside Moraine Creek. The first night is spent in a bivi rock below the bushline or on grassy open flats and campsites a short distance further on.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Morraine Creek

Day 2:

The valley climbs up and over ancient moraine around Lake Adelaide with views of the jagged peaks of the Adelaide Cirque, arriving at one of the Southern Alps’ most accommodating and weather proof bivi rocks.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Adelaide Saddle

Day 3:

From here the route climbs the infamous Gifford’s Crack where a rope is often used for security to Adelaide Saddle and views down to Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. A scramble up the ridge to the summit of Barrier Knob and down snow slopes where crampons may be required to join the more frequented Gertrude Saddle.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Barrier Knob

Day 4:

After a final bivi, decend the more frequented Gertrude Valley route to Homer Hut in the Upper Hollyford Valley and the Milford Road. Return to Wānaka.

Adelaide Cirque Fitness and Difficulty Requirements

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Adelaide Cirque
Wanaka Mountain Guides

Trekkers need to be able to undertake big ascents and descents of up to 1000m in a day with 15kg packs.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

Requires recent experience off-track trekking. This includes movement over scree, boulders, and tussock slopes and wild camping.

Details and Price

Duration: 4 days
Get in touch to arrange private trips from December to March
2023/24 Price:
$2650 / $4950 per person for 2 / 1 people.

Includes: GST, guide fees, compliance costs, food and accommodation, transport from Wānaka, and technical equipment.
Maximum ratio 1:2

See Also

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘A very professional guide and great company. He took time to explain to us what walks were possible/practical each day depending on the weather and the impact it would have on the surrounding rivers. If you are city dwellers it is very comforting to know that your guide is thinking of the safety of the group. [He] certainly kept us well fed as well. We are looking forward to future trips in the beautiful mountains around Wānaka which is a refreshing change and takes us out of our comfort zone for a few days at least.’

Michael, Siberia Hut Trip

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘Thank you again. That was an awesome day out and I really appreciated how generous [our guide] was with his time and knowledge. He crammed in more than I thought possible in a day.’

Megan, Remarkables Alpine Rock Climbing Course

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘It was 4 days I’ll never forget! The experiences I had I only want to grow on. I set out to accomplish a task, but I got so much more! You showed me a whole new world with your sport and I can’t thank you enough! Thanks so much for doing a great job at coaching someone who had no idea what they were doing lol. I work with some great leaders so I know one when I see one! I am a beginner climber and he gave excellent instruction on how to be safe while taking me out of my comfort zone. I’ve found a new love for this sport and it’s thanks to him! Absolutely exceeded my expectations!!! Thanks Wanaka Mountain Guides!

Landen, Mitre Peak Ascent

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