A remote and rewarding Fiordland hike
Those who can claim the honour of completing the Dusky Track are revered amongst hikers. While the Dusky Track is not the longest hike in New Zealand, it is often regarded as the toughest. Traversing rugged terrain and muddy tracks while negotiating river crossings and ferocious sandflies, the Dusky Track hike is slow-going. But in a place as spectacular as this, who wants to rush?
It takes seven to eight days to complete the 84-kilometre (52-mile) Dusky Track. The track can be hiked in either direction from Lake Hauroko or Lake Manapouri with each access point accessible only by boat.
While the Dusky Track will test your resilience, it also offers the incredible experience of accessing a remote section of Fiordland very few people will ever get to see. It offers intrepid hikers the opportunity to see the finest scenery in the South Island from mountain ranges and valley systems to lakes for swimming and endless solitude and connection. To say you have completed the Dusky Track is to say you have completed one of New Zealand’s most demanding and distinguished multi-day hikes,
HOW TO WALK THE DUSKY TRACK
The Dusky Track offers trampers a challenging 84-kilometre (52-mile) hike which takes around eight days to complete. The track links Lake Hauroko with Lake Manapouri and can include a two-day detour to Supper Cove in Tamatea / Dusky Sound.
From the south, a scheduled boat service on Lake Hauroko leads to the start of the track at the head of the lake. It is also possible to fly to the start of the track or Supper Cove by float plane or helicopter. Lake Hauroko is the deepest lake in New Zealand (462 m) and the boat journey across it provides a spectacular start to the trip.
If you are starting from the northern end of the Dusky Track, access is across Lake Manapouri – a launch service operates daily.
Find out more about Dusky Track transport here.
IMPORTANT DUSKY TRACK INFORMATION
An experience that is sure to become a lifelong memory, Dusky Track traverses three major valley systems, crosses two mountain ranges and 21 three-wire bridges. It can also entail tree falls, knee-deep mud, river crossings, tree roots and rough terrain. Some sections often become impassable due to flooding after heavy rain.
Not surprisingly, the Dusky Track is recommended for experienced hikers with a high level of fitness. It is recommended you hike with a companion and carry emergency equipment, including a personal locator beacon.
Independent walkers need to arrange their food and gear, as well as booking a boat transfer at the beginning and end of the track. As the finishing point is in a different location to the start point, independent walkers need to make transfer arrangements to get back to their original starting point. Find out more about Dusky Track transport here.
It is recommended you contact the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre before you walk the track, always check weather conditions and ensure you are prepared for extreme conditions.