Dusky Track | Fiordland, NZ, 2010

Distance :  52.2 miles (84 km)img_2386

Avg. Time :  7 or 8 days

Start / Finish :

  • Lake Hauroko – Lake Manapouri. The track can be done in either direction.
  • There is daily transport to the West Arm of Lake Manapouri from Te Anau (30min).
  • Access to the trailhead on Lake Hauroko is less frequent. At the time of writing (April, 2010), the only regular services were with Lake Hauroko Tours www.duskytrack.co.nz on Mondays and Thursdays. Call them to confirm exact times.

Season :

  • November to April.
  • Possiblity of heavy rain thoughout the year. Pack accordingly.

Loch Maree


Swimming hole just before Supper Cove Hut

Maps / Info :

  • The Topo50 CE06 Lake Roe map (2009) covers more than 90% of the track. Highly recommended. Widely available throughout NZ in Outdoors Stores and DOC offices.
  • Sections Not Covered: The Lake Roe map does not cover the initial few kilometres from the West Arm of Lake Manapouri, nor the final few kilometres before Supper cove. However, in both cases the trail is obvious and a topographic map is not really needed.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned topo map, I carried the trekking notes from Lonely Planet’s Tramping in New Zealand. Note that this book only describes the Manapouri to Supper cove section of the route. The stretch from Loch Maree to Lake Hauroko is mentioned only in brief. That being said, the trail is easy to follow with regular orange markers showing the way.
  • See the NZ Department of Conservation [DOC] website for the most up-to-date information and a basic map of the route: www.doc.govt.nz

Lake Hauroko


Cable Bridge | Dusky Track

Route / Conditions :

  • The Dusky track rivals the Northwest Circuit on Stewart island for the title of New Zealand’s muddiest tramp. “Fair weather” hikers should stay at home.
  • In addition to the mud, there are 21 three-wire bridges, numerous creek/river crossings and a constant stream of slippery, moss-covered roots and rocks to negotiate.
  • The going is invariably slow and particular care must be taken on the descent from Centre Pass, and also the descent to Loch Maree if you are walking south to north.
  • The Lake Roe / Lake Horizon area is visually stunning, and brings a welcome respite from the sandflies.
  • Don’t miss taking a well-earned dip at the gorgeous swimming hole/waterfall, situated about 30 minutes or so from Supper Cove hut. When the weather is fine, this place is like something out of a Tahitian postcard.
  • The trail is well marked throughout with orange blazes.
  • The Dusky Track is a challenging route and is suitable only for experienced, well-equipped trampers.

Lake Roe (photo courtesy of Olivia Darras)


Lake Roe (photo courtesy of Olivia Darras)

Sleeping :

  • Huts on the Dusky track are cheap, rarely crowded and provide a welcome respite from the sandflies.
  • This is one of the wettest, muddiest, most sandfly-infested areas you are ever likely to encounter. Leave your tent at home.

Overview :

  • One of my favourite treks in NZ.
  • A very rewarding walk, with incredible scenery and challenging conditions.


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