Quick answers to the most obvious need to knows
What is Bushbashing?
Bushbashing is expedition walking in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand; one of the biggest, wildest places in the world. It's walking off-track entirely, and on trappers' trails, through mountain forests and up above the tree line into alpine regions, in the safe hands of our experienced bush guides. Bushbashing gets you to places you can't easily access on your own, well away from popular walking tracks and walkers. It's experiencing Fiordland as it should be experienced; wild, and far away from the Milford Sound crowds. Read more about the Bushbash experience.
How fit do I need to be, and are there any age restrictions?
Because we are a backcountry operator you do need to be reasonably fit and agile, particularly on our multi-day trips, but you don't need experience. To take part in our multi-day trips you must be 16 or older, and you must be confident you can carry a pack of lightweight camping equipment and walk in hilly terrain. To take part in our one day trips you must be 10 or older (and accompanied by an adult guardian if you are a child).
Where do Bushbash trips start?
We are based in Te Anau, the closest settlement to Fiordland National Park. Bushbash supports sustainable travel choices and it's easy to get to us by public transport from Queenstown, Dunedin and other centres by Intercity scheduled coach or by locally-operated Tracknet minibus service. If you are coming from overseas, or NZ's north island, then you can fly to Queenstown, Invercargill or Dunedin airports (yes we object to aeroplanes too, but appreciate swimming isn't an option). All our trips start from Te Anau or nearby and we give you details of where to meet us when booking.
What trips can I choose from?
We offer one day and multi-day adventures, to give you a choice between a wilderness experience with a hot bath at the end of the day, or a full-on camping wilderness expedition. One-day trips are generally suitable for most abilities, as long as you are reasonably agile. Multi-day trips are for fit people as they always involve walking up hills and carrying camping gear. Our expeditions change annually to enable our repeat clients to experience new things. Browse the 'Our Adventures' section to find out this year's trips and prices and to see our trips in pictures.
I'm not sure I have all the necessary gear. Is that a problem?
No problem. Read our kit list for your required clothing, but we can usually hire or sell you anything you are missing. For our multi-day expeditions, you are recommended to have your own backpack and good boots (although we can hire you these things too), but we supply all tents, sleeping mats, cooking equipment and emergency first aid and rescue equipment.
Food, glorious food - do I get it?
Food is the most important thing - it's your fuel. On all our expeditions we provide all your meals, snacks and hot drinks. We ensure it is nutritionally balanced to give you the most energy to keep you going, while also being tasty, lightweight, and locally sourced. We can easily cater for special dietary requirements, and give you a choice of options at the beginning of your trip. All you need to bring is your own water bottle (we provide the pristine streams to top it up).
How many people will be in my group?
Our groups are probably the smallest tour groups in Fiordland; we have never heard of smaller groups. We take a maximum of six plus your guide, and on our multi-day trips we have just five clients and two guides. But we can run trips for even smaller groups if required; just ask.
What birds and plants can I expect to see?
You get a chance to see fantails, tom tits, robins, parrots such as kaka and kea, and even a New Zealand owl (morepork). You get to see a range of unique plants and trees from towering beech trees to epiphytes and stunning alpine plants. For more information on the unique biodiversity of this incredible national park, visit the Department of Conservation.
Will there be bears?
As a discerning client, we are sure you already know there are no bears in New Zealand, but it's worth reiterating! There are also no scary spiders, snakes or other nasties in Fiordland National Park. There aren't even mosquitos. The worst we have to offer are sandflies, which are small and harmless, and they only bite you if you stand still, and they tend to be worst around low lakes and rivers, rather than in the bush or alpine regions where we operate.
What will the weather be like, and will my trip still go ahead in bad weather?
You can bushbash year round on our one-day trips (although our multi-day mountain expeditions are restricted to summer for safety reasons). If bushbashing between late November and April (the summer season) there is a good chance of fine, warm or even hot weather. Winter and spring months from May to October can also be good; crisp and clear. We walk in parts of the national park that get significantly lower rainfalls than Milford Sound. But if rain is predicted your trip will still go ahead; just stick on a coat. On our bush trips the trees protect you from the worst of the weather. It rarely gets ferociously cold here; and snow on the peaks doesn't mean snow lower down. However, in he unlikely event of extreme and dangerous weather conditions your trip will be cancelled.
What about emergencies?
We do all we can to ensure your trip is safe; but we also prepare for the worst. In case of injury or illness, our guides have first aid training and carry relevant first aid and emergency rescue aids, including emergency rescue beacons to enable helicopter rescue in extreme circumstances. REad our safety policy.
Why choose Bushbash?
There is no evil corporation behind Bushbash. We are owner operated by local, qualified bush instructors; Mary Williams and Geoff Clarke, a former Department of Conservation ranger. Another great reason to choose Bushbash and book through this website is because 10% of your booking fee goes directly to the Kea Conservation Trust, our partner charity, helping to save the endangered kea, the most intelligent parrot in the world (pictured above).
Bushbash has a concession to operate guided expeditions in Fiordland wilderness from the Department of Conservation, and is also safety audited by Outdoors Mark. Find out more about Bushbash and read our mission statement.
Our payment, cancellation and refund policy
All trips must be paid for fully in advance. No refund will be made if you do not show up, or you are late and the trip has already left, or if the guide considers you inappropriate due to ill health, poor fitness or intoxication. You are advised to take out travel insurance to protect you against such situations. Refunds due to cancellation by you can only be made if you cancel a one-day trip at least seven days before your trip, or a multi-day trip at least one month before your trip. If Bushbash cancels your trip for extreme weather reasons or any other reason out of our control such as road closure you will be given a full refund unless an alternate route is possible. Read our full Terms and Conditions.