Rees and Dart Track

4 - 5 days

86 km

Highlights

  • Spectacular mountain scenery
  • River gorges & snowy peaks
  • Dart glacier

Proximity

GRADE: ADVANCED

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Hike along two magnificent river valleys enclosed by towering mountains. A glacier side trip adds to the adventure.

New Zealand
Rees Dart Walking Track, New Zealand

By New Zealand Trails

Queenstown
On the Rees/Dart Track, Queenstown

By Bitesize Productions

Queenstown
Hiking the Rees-Dart Track, Queenstown

By elisfanclub

Queenstown
Rees Dart Track, Queenstown

By New Zealand Trails

Rees and Dart Track itinerary

This magnificent, but challenging, alpine circuit lets you explore two river valleys at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Add a detour to the Dart Glacier to make the circuit 5 days.

Day 1

Muddy Creek > Shelter Rock Hut

From Muddy Creek, cross the boggy section beyond Arthur's Creek to the swingbridge spanning the Rees River. Walkers then continue on through beech forest and ruggard gullies to Shelter Rock Hut. 

8 hours walking

 

Day 2

Shelter Rock Hut > Dart Hut

Travel along the narrow track as it follows the river for some distance before climbing 1471-metres to the Rees Saddle. Stop to admire the panoramic alpine views. From here the track turns continue downwards, traversing steep slopes and crossing two bridges before coming to Dart Hut. 

6 hours walking

  

Day 3

Dart Hut > Daleys Flat Hut

Descent through beautiful beech forest to Cattle Flat. You may come across rare native birds, such as yellowheads, kaka, robins and fantails. Paradise ducks live on the grassy river flats. The track then crosses a number of terraces and gullies before reaching Daleys Flat Hut. 

6 hours walking

 

Day 4

Daleys Flat Hut > Chinaman's Flat > Paradise

Begin early and follow the track to Dredge Flat. Journey through forest and across gravel flats to Sandy Bluff, where the track climbs, looking down on the Dart River below. A well-marked track leads along the river and through the forest to Chinaman's Bluff and the grassy flats that lead to the carpark. 

7.5 hours walking to Chinaman's Flat > 2 hours walking Chinaman's Flat to Paradise

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Department of Conservation

Click the link below for more information and detailed maps about this hike.

Rees and Dart Track

More information

Alternative Routes

Make this a 5-day walk by including these two side-trips from Dart Hut.

  • Dart Glacier (return): The Dart Glacier is relatively small, but beautifully formed. (10 hours return)
  • Whitbourn Valley: Highly experienced parties can cross the Dart River half an hour downstream from Dart Hut and walk to the glacier’s snout. (4 hours)

Caution must be taken on both these walks as rain and snow melt can make stream and river crossing hazardous.

 

Accommodation

  • Accommodation before and after the walk is available in the nearby towns of Wanaka and Queenstown.
  • During the walk there are three Department of Conservation (DOC) huts and campsites.
  • Huts include: solid fuel fires for heating, mattresses and running water. Bring your own cooking facilities.
  • Purchase hut tickets from DOC before you start.

 

Getting there 

  • Rees Track begins 68km from Queenstown, via Glenorchy, carpark at Muddy Creek.
  • Dart Track begins 76 km from Queenstown via Glenorchy.

 

Guided walk operators

 

Need to know

  • The safest time of year to hike the Rees and Dart track is from December to April.
  • During colder months heavy snowfall and hazardous creeks can make the track dangerous.
  • This track can be independently walked by experienced hikers.
  • Visit a DOC Visitor Centre for a map and hut tickets.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly check the forecast before setting out and be prepared.

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