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Dusky Track, New Zealand
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Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Dusky Track, New Zealand on 05/17/2010 23:59:40 MDT Print View

This is another installment from my 2007 trip to New Zealand.

Below is the description from website.

The Dusky Track offers trampers a challenging 84 km tramping track which requires at least eight days to complete. It links Lake Hauroko with Lake Manapōuri, offers a two day detour to Supper Cove in Dusky Sound, traverses three major valley systems and crosses two mountain ranges.

There are 21 three-wire bridges on this track. You can expect to encounter tree falls, deep mud, tree roots and river crossings.

The track is suitable only for well equipped and experienced groups.

After listening to the warnings and harrowing stories of flooding and helicopter rescues that have occurred on this route we got our maps at the DOC office in Te Anau. Next up we tracked down a PLB to rent and booked our transport to the track.

The following morning we got our ride to Lake Hauroko and boarded the Namu which would transport us to the beginning of the track. Namu means sandfly in Maori. The legend goes that sandflies were created as the punishment the Maori would have to suffer for living in such a paradise.

The rainbow that greeted us at the lake could usually be taken as a sign of blessing on our trip but we were not so naive.


Lake Houroko

It was a beautiful and speedy ride to the start of the track.



Our boots would instantly be introduced to the slop and muck. The forest was too beautiful to be believed! The river was the color of tea from the tannins picked up as the rain filtered through the forest.

Hauroko Burn

The Trail


We soon reached the first of many of the 3 wire bridges that would test our wobbly legs.

3 wire

3 wire #2

And the forest went on and on....




Can you see the trail?

The Trail #2

Our first night was a short walk to Halfway Hut. The next day we made our way to Lake Roe which is just below the tree line. The Plateau above is filled with alpine tarns.

Lake Roe Hut

The beautiful Lake Horizon is surrounded by alpine tussocks and granite outcrops.

Lake Horizon

Endless Forest

Granite and Epiphytes

On day 3 we would cross the Pleasant Range in a squall. The trail would bring us to the edge where we could see the Lock Marie hut almost 1000 meters directly below us.

Pleasant Range

The view from the Loch Marie Hut.

Loch Marie

Lock Marie #2

Next was the trek out to Supper Cove which is only reached by plane, boat, or foot. We would wade through numerous side-streams and cross the endless bogs while trying to balance on branches, rocks, and roots. The tougher stream crossings were aided by yet more 3 wire bridges.

Long 3 wire

Status Quo


We would spend a rest day and enjoy the surroundings. We tried our luck fishing with some hand lines.

Supper Cove Hut

Supper Cove #2


We would backtrack and spend another night at the Loch Marie Hut before continuing on to the Kintail Hut.

More Mud

Cascade #2

Near Kintail

Second to last day was a steep climb from the Kintail Hut up to Center Pass. We took in the views before dropping down to the Upper Spey Valley and our last nights stay at the Upper Spey Hut.

Center Pass

Center Pass #2

Upper Spey Forest

Upper Spey Hut

Upper Spey Hut #2

Last day was a rush to reach Lake Manapouri and catch our boat back to Te Anau. A bus from the Doubtful Sound tour picked us up and saved us a road walk. It was quite an abrupt end to an amazing wilderness experience.

If you go be prepared to spend your days looking for the next orange triangle!

trail marker

Edited by monstertruck on 08/01/2010 11:44:12 MDT.

Ruan Kendall
(Ruan) - MLife

Locale: UK
Re: Dusky Track, New Zealand on 05/18/2010 03:24:35 MDT Print View

The colossal lack of imagination shown by the old British Imperial explorers in naming places always amuses me. I'm currently planning a hike in Kintail too, but the one in Scotland. From what I've seen though, the scenery isn't quite as amazing as where you've been though!

The more I read up on NZ, the more I want to visit. Need to save up and make a decent trip of it though, so it won't be nearly soon enough.

Did you take a waterproof camera for all that, or did you just take a normal one and stick it in a ziplock bag or similar?

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Dusky Track, New Zealand on 05/18/2010 06:34:13 MDT Print View

Great photos man, absolutely beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Dusky Track, New Zealand on 05/19/2010 01:03:38 MDT Print View

Hey Ruan,

It is quite funny how many of the same place-names can be found back in the UK. The settlers even brought over many mammals to make it more like home and the NZ Department of Conservation is still trying to quell the havoc these vermin are causing.

I took along a Nikon D80 with two zoom lenses and had to spend some time and energy during the trip to keep it all dry. I used a Lowepro topload 65 AW attached to my chest harness with a couple carabiners. I used a waterproof OR stuffsack that I pulled over the case that did an ok job of keeping it dry. When it really poured down I put the camera inside an Aloksak with a couple desiccant gel packs inside. It was all fine except for some fog in the lens if I came out of the warm huts into the cool moist air to take a few pics.