hiking trails in South Island, New Zealand
Itineraries > Oceania itineraries > Rees-Dart Track

The Rees-Dart Track is a Department of Conservation Major Track on New Zealand's South Island with portions of it in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Understand edit

This is a moderately demanding circuit track taking 4-5 days of 6-8 hours of walking per day. The fifth day is added if an extra day trip to the Dart Glacier is taken. Mt. Earnslaw (Pikirakatahi) and Slip Stream (Te Koroka) are Töpuni (sacred) sites of the Ngāi Tāhu Maori tribe. This track can also be linked to the Cascade Saddle track, but is suggested only for very experienced trampers.

Prepare edit

Just like any multi-night tramping excursion, be sure to lay out your plans in advance. Make a packing list and check it before leaving. Preparedness is key to surviving an emergency in the wilderness.

  • Clothing.
    • Wet-weather clothing.
    • Warm-weather clothing.
    • Extra clothing. Expect the clothing you tramp in to get wet and as such you will need extra clothing to change into when not on the track.
  • Eating.
    • Cooking equipment. You must pack in your own cooking gear such as pots, as none are provided.
    • Food. You must pack in your own food as there is no opportunity to purchase food. Prepare a menu consisting of high-energy, low-weight foods to carry in with you. Always carry at least one extra day's worth of food in case of emergency. Emergency rations can be an easy and compact way to bring in extra calories.
    • Utensils. Your best bet is to carry a single utensil, such as a spork, for cooking and eating.
  • Hygiene.
    • Calls of nature. Bury any waste as there are not toilets along the track, but only at the huts. Move a good distance off the track and away from any water sources and bury the waste.
    • Showering. There are no showers available, but given the abundance of moving water you can expect to get wet. Carrying a small towel, preferably a lightweight, highly absorbent towel, is suggested.
  • Insect repellent. Pack insect repellent as the sand flies are abundant in this area. Sand flies are small biting insects similar to mosquitoes or biting midges.
  • Sleep gear.
    • Tent. There are huts positioned along the track about a day's hike between each one, but if you'd rather rough it a little more, you can set up a tent in the common areas near the hut. Tent campers are not allowed to use the hut's cooking or bathroom facilities.
    • Sleeping bag. There are mattresses provided in the bunkhouse of the huts year-round, but there are no linens. You will need to carry something to sleep in or on that will keep you warm as there is no heating offered in the bunkhouse. Earplugs are also suggested if you are a light sleeper as the bunkhouses are shared with a large number of other trampers.
  • Water. The water that is available at the huts is collected in the area surrounding the hut, either from a nearby river or from rainfall. This water is not tested for giardia on a regular basis, so treatment is recommended.
    • Bottle. Carry a bottle or other water carrier such as a CamelBak or Platypus that can be accessed easily. Drinking regularly to maintain hydration is extremely important during such continuous activity.
    • Treatment. Carry your preferred method for treating water, and possibly a backup method. A pump or gravity filter could be your primary method with iodine tablets as a backup, which require time to clear the bacteria.

Transport edit

Throughout the Great Walks peak season, daily transport to the track is provided by Info&Track. Services are available from nearby towns of Queenstown or Glenorchy to either Muddy Creek or Chinaman's Bluff. Tel: 03 442 9708, +64 3 442 9708 or email mailto:adventure@infotrack.co.nz.

Walk edit

1 Muddy Creek to park boundary edit

12 km starting on a vehicle track, then following marker poles across boggy ground, taking about 5 hours.

Park boundary to Shelter Rock Hut edit

7 km of marked track through bush, taking about 2-3 hours to walk.

2 Shelter Rock Hut to Dart Hut edit

10 km taking about 6 hours using a narrow steep track. The upper Snowy Creek bridge is removed in winter and may not be back before Christmas. The track crosses the 3 Rees Saddle which is 1471m high.

4 Dart Hut to Daleys Flat edit

A descent followed by a walk through beech forest, taking 5-7 hours to cover the 18 km.

5 Daleys Flat to Chinamans carpark edit

5½-7½ hr to cover 16 km.

Some sections are narrow and sometimes steep and require a high level of backcountry skills.

6 Chinamans carpark to 7 Paradise edit

Altough this can often be done in a vehicle, it is sometimes necessary to walk the 6 km to Paradise.

Stay safe edit

Be sure to register with the Department of Conservation (DOC) office in Glenorchy before heading out. Your check-in and subsequent check-out with the DOC will insure your safety in the wilderness. If you do not check-out by the date you've specified during registration a search will commence shortly thereafter.

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