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Spiritual Retreats in Hollyford Valley, New Zealand

Spiritual Retreats

Spiritual retreats are personal to each participant. The programs are designed to help each individual person to grow emotionally and spiritually at their own pace. You are not pushed, but gently led to break down the barriers that have been built from the conditioning that has surrounded your life. As these barriers, both emotionally and spiritual, are taken down, we help you to begin, regain or to further enhance living your life in balance and harmony.

spiritual retreats

A retreat is time out from everyday life, if we do not allow ourselves to step out of our comfort zones, then those barriers become more subtle and more difficult to break down.

Retreats give you an opportunity to contemplate, meditate and to be with like minded people who are also seeking answers, which may help open the door for yourself. Of the thousands of people who have participated in one of our retreats, each one has left with a new insight into their life.


Hollyford Valley, New Zealand - Spiritual Retreat

These retreats are non-religious and are designed for people to experience their own spirituality through nature. This is done through simple exercises using Zen techniques and meditations during the day, incorporating the natural beauty of the areas through which we travel. We stay at Gunn's (Hollyford) Camp in the Hollyford Valley in Fiordland and the wilderness trips are day trips with light day packs.

During our lives we tend to accumulate a lot of rubbish in the mind, making life confused, complicated, difficult and stressful. In the evenings we have meditation and discussion sessions to further our understanding and to bring things back to their simplest form, giving us clarity and perspective, enabling us to live life to the full, without the emotional and mental baggage that we so often think has to go with it.

Retreats in Hollyford Valley, New Zealand

These Retreats, although incorporating walks on bush and wilderness tracks, will require a modicum of fitness. People with heart conditions are advised to seek medical advice before enrolling for these Retreats as there is a good deal of physical activity involved.


Type of Country:
The Hollyford Valley is situated between Te Anau and Milford. It is used by Touch Your Heart for Spiritual Retreats based on Zen principles. It is a beautiful valley situated in Fiordland from which Todd, our guide and spiritual adviser, conducts the retreats, using nature as the teacher. There is no set time for you to be there. You can come for two days or two weeks depending on whether Todd is there during the period you want to stay, as each day produces something different. It is entirely up to you as to how long you stay.

Although the walks you go on are not extremely arduous it does pay to have a modicum of fitness if you are to enjoy yourself. If you do a couple of hill walks a week and 20 - 30 squats a day, for two to three weeks before you go, then you will be able to handle anything that comes your way. The emphasis is on enjoying your life, not enduring it, consequently there is no rush in anything we do and plenty of meditation time as we move up to the mountain lakes, rivers and forests, etc.

mountain retreats

The tramps are just one day affairs lasting from about 9.30 a.m. until we get back in the afternoons at any time between 3.30p.m. and 5.00 p.m. During these times you will experience some of the most beautiful country in the world, and we emphasise the word "experience" because you will be taken into realms of understanding that you may not have experienced before. From the time we arrive back in camp until 7.30p.m. we have free time for meals and showers and from 7.30p.m. we gather in a nominated Cabin and have evening Meditation and Spiritual discussions helped along with drinks of your choice, i.e. water, tea, coffee or soft drink.

You stay in cabins at the Hollyford Camp, run by the Hollyford Trust. The cost of your accommodation depends on the rates set by the Trust. There are special rates for groups and they do have backpacker rates but these have to be negotiated. Todd has been going to the Hollyford Camp now for approximately 40 years and tries to obtain cheaper rates for people that come for Retreats. However, this is out of his control and it depends on who is running the Camp at the time.

Todd's fee is NZ$25.00 per day. This is for daily tramps with Zen focus lessons and Meditations and for the Evening Spiritual Sessions and Meditations.

spiritual retreats in Hollyford, New Zealand

The cabins can hold between 6 and 8 people but because of the time of year, which would be winter time or early Spring when Todd is usually there, plenty of cabin space is usually available and people can spread themselves out a bit. We find that four people to a cabin is comfortable. Each cabin has bunk beds, most of which are separated into two rooms, one each end of the cabin. The space between contains the coal range or wood burner (for which wood and coal are provided) and is the dining, cooking, lounge area, although a new Community Hall has now been built and contains all the cooking facilities (gas rings) in the kitchen off of the hall. The hall/lounge itself contains a large wood burning fire, chairs and tables and is large and comfortable.

Cabins may not be so readily available at certain times, especially during the Summer period; therefore accommodation could be a little scarce so be sure to book your accommodation before you go.
The website for booking is as follows:

Follow the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound. After you pass a place called the Divide, which is the start of the Routeburn track, you will begin the descent to the valley floor. When you reach the bottom you will see a signpost pointing to the Hollyford Camp or Gunns Camp turnoff on your right (If you find yourself approaching the Homer Tunnel, you have gone too far). You travel down this road for approximately Eight Kilometres and you will come across the Hollyford Camp or Gunn's Camp on your left hand side. The trip from Te Anau to the Hollyford Camp takes approximately two hours and is very spectacular for its magnificent scenery. Ask for Todd at the Reception counter in the shop and they will tell you where I am and show you to your accommodation.

If Todd isn't around he will be out on one of the tracks so make yourselves comfortable and have a good look around the camp and he will contact you when he returns.

There are no insects, snakes or dangerous animals in New Zealand

This then is the type of country you are invited to experience with us, and once you do you won’t want it to end.

mountain retreats Everybody is responsible for their own meals. You can team up with others if you wish or you can cook individually. It is suggested that you bring quick and easy to cook meals with you for the evenings you will be staying. This will save you time and make it easier all round with the cooking facilities. It can be a lot of fun.

CHECKLIST-What You Will Need:
Sleeping Bag, "Good" Wet Weather Gear (Forget about shower proof stuff), Torch and/or candles, Toilet Gear, Warm Clothing (Wool Shirts, Wool Vests and Long Johns), Good Boots or Strong Walking Shoes, Walking Pole or Stick, Meditation Blanket, Pillow Slip, Hottie, Matches and Firelighters, Knife, Fork and Spoon, Plate, Bowl, Mug, Insect Repellent, Two Pots and Fry Pan for cooking, Cooker and enough Food and tea/coffee to cover you for the period you'll be at the Hollyford. Some of these things may be available at the camp shop either to purchase or borrow but bring your own if you're uncertain about taking a chance. Last but not least, Sandflies are prolific in the western National Parks and the Hollyford Valley is no exception. You will be reasonably free of them in the forest areas because they prefer the open spaces. On that note make sure you have your insect repellent with you.

There are coal ranges or pot bellies in the cabins but some are more efficient than others. In other words you can cook on them but you can't rely on them so take a cooker in case. There are no electric plugs so forget about electric kettles, blankets, etc. Electric lights come on in the cabins about 5.30 p.m. when the generator is switched on and they go off again at about 10.30 p.m. and that's when you may need your candles or torch.

Before proceeding to the Hollyford Don't forget to fill up with petrol at Te Anau as there are no petrol stations once you leave Te Anau.

Because the Hollyford Valley is in a remote alpine area, in winter it would be prudent for you to take snow chains for your vehicle, which you can hire in either Dunedin, Invercargill or Te Anau. If you get caught in snow with no chains the fees for towing your vehicle can be expensive. Although this has never happened to anyone connected with Todd's Hollyford Valley Retreats in all the time he's been going to the Hollyford, try not to make it a first.

Finally, if you want to be certain of having a cabin available to you then contact the Manager of the Hollyford Camp and book your accommodation. Otherwise you may just like to take a chance that there will be one available when you get there. During the Winter months cabins are usually available but nothing is certain.

Remember, the wilderness is unforgiving and the weather can turn within an hour from sunshine to snow so make sure that you don't bring flimsy gear.

The website to make contact for accomodation:

For further information on Spiritual Retreats in the Hollyford Valley please e-mail us on:



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Sheila and Todd Wall

Touch Your Heart

3 Morse Street, Brighton, Dunedin, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 481 1105   eMail:
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