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Allow up to ten days. Trampers can start at either Lake Manapouri or Lake Hauroko. A regular boat service runs on Manapouri but the boat service on Hauroko must be pre-arranged. Float plane or helicopter access can be arranged to Supper Cove. This track is suitable for fit, experienced and well-equipped parties - it crosses two alpine passes and can flood after heavy rain. A portable stove must be carried by parties as dry firewood is scarce at hut sites. There are eight huts on the Dusky Track.
The Dusky Track is in Fiordland National Park, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area
Length: 84 kilometres
Number of days required to walk: 10
Number of huts: 8
Highest point: 1100 m
Can be guided: No.
Track condition: Track contains mud pits, lots of tree roots and very steep sections, as well as 15 three-wire bridges.
Track popularity: Medium.
Booking required: No. Hut tickets are required however.
Difficulty: Difficult, for experienced walkers only.
Lake Hauroko is the deepest known lake in New Zealand and one of the most scenic of the Great Lakes, and is a spectacular start to this section of the trip. Trampers must either travel its 32km length by boat or come in by air. The Dusky Track is a marked track for use only by experienced and well-equipped trampers. Problems can occur during periods of heavy rain. It is desirable to carry a primus.
(Direction: Lake Hauroko to Supper Cove)
Lake Hauroko Lake Hauroko to Halfway Hut (5-6 Hours)
The first 40 minutes walking from the Hauroko Burn Hut (sleeps ten) gives level walking with attractive views of the Hauroko Burn. In time of flood an emergency walkwire crosses the first major stream just downstream from the track. At a gentle grade the track climbs above a gorge before descending to a walkwire over the Hauroko Burn just below the confluence of the Gardner Burn. Another steeper climb, then a gradual descent back to the river and flat going to Halfway Hut (12 bunks).
Halfway Hut to Lake Roe (5 Hours)
The track follows an easy grade with log crossings until the top forks are reached. Keep an eye open for yellowheads and kaka in this section. From the forks the track climbs steeply out above bushline to where snow poles give direction to Lake Roe Hut (12 bunks) located at the northern end of Lake Laffy on Furkert Pass. Lake Roe itself, beautiful in its setting of massive granite outcrops, lies directly above the hut, due east (20 minutes).
Lake Roe - Loch Maree (4-5 Hours)
Heading in a westerly direction, snow poles mark the track up the ridge and then around the south shore of Lake Horizon and along the open tops of the Pleasant Range. The highlight of the track in terms of scenery, this section offers spectacular views of Dusky Sound and the surrounding mountains. From the end of the Pleasant Range the track descends very steeply down to Loch Maree where a walkwire, for emergency use only, crosses the Seaforth River, a few minutes walk from Loch Maree Hut (12 bunks). It is suggested that parties ford the Seaforth just downstream from the walkwire in normal conditions.
Loch Maree - Supper Cove (6 Hours) (Optional)
The track climbs around Loch Maree then descends to below the Bishop Burn. After heavy rain, low-lying parts of this section can become flooded. From the Bishop Burn to the old Supper Cove shelter, the track is flat going along the original track cut in 1903, and some abandoned tools lie beside the track below Loch Maree. Continuing on from the shelter somewhat rougher going is encountered as the track sidles the slopes overlooking the Cove. At low tide however, much of this section can be avoided by following the beach. Supper Cove Hut (12 bunks) is visible on a small terrace just south of the Hilda Burn. Supper Cove offers excellent fishing so don’t forget to take a line. The dinghy stored in the shed below the hut is available for public use but TAKE EXTREME CARE as rough sea conditions can develop without warning.
Loch Maree - Kintail (4-5 Hours)
Five minutes from the Loch Maree Hut the point where the 1903 track gang halted work is reached. From here to Deadwood Creek the track is rough and some sections are prone to flooding. From Deadwood Creek to Kenneth Burn, watch for track entrance markers on the opposite bush edge of the clearings through which the track passes. Several deep guts fill with water during high river levels and can be difficult to cross. After crossing the Kenneth Burn walkwire, the track ascends through the gorge to the swampy area around Gair Loch and relatively easy going on to Kintail Hut (12 bunks), which is reached by following a sidetrack (signposted).
Kintail - Centre Pass - Upper Spey (5-6 Hours)
Backtrack five minutes to the walkwire over the Seaforth. From here the track climbs steeply up through the bush to Centre Pass. Don’t forget behind you are beautiful views of the Seaforth Valley. Before reaching the pass, a garden of giant buttercups is encountered. Snow poles guide you through to the head of the Warren Burn and a short, steep descent to the Upper Spey Hut (12 bunks).
Upper Spey - Track Head (4-4 1/2 Hours)
From the hut, the track, marked by yellow pegs, makes its way across a large, swampy clearing to the Ribbonwood and Beech Forests of the Spey River. A walkwire crosses the Spey River (40 minutes after leaving the Hut) and two walkwires cross the Dashwood further down.
Track Head - West Arm (45 Minutes)
From Track Head, follow the Wilmot Pass Road for a 45-minute walk to West Arm.
Getting there and back
It is necessary to cross Lake Hauroko to the start of the Dusky Track at the north-west end of Lake Hauroko. This must be prearranged before commencing on the track. It is not possible to walk the Dusky Track without first arranging transport over the lake.
Click here for a list of operators that provide access across Lake Hauroko
The track finishes at the West Arm of Lake Manapouri. It is necessary to take a launch boat across Lake Manapouri back to Manapouri township. Fortunately a daily launch service operates on Lake Manapouri. Please Click Here for more information.
Huts and Hut Tickets
The Department of Conservation provides and maintains 10 huts on the track. Each is supplied with mattresses, running water and toilet facilities. All huts are category three, requiring one ticket per night, or an annual hut pass. Tickets can be purchased from:
Department of Conservation
Phone: +64 3 249 7924
or, email: email@example.com
The track is open all year round, but during the winter months, parts of the track may be closed due to heavy rain. It is recommended that the track be walked during the summer months (November to May)