NZ - Dusky Track

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NZ - Dusky Track

Postby Damien » Wed 11 Aug, 2010 11:53 pm

I'm interested in giving the Dusky Track in Fiordland a go sometime this year, more details here:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recrea ... sky-track/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents ... ochure.pdf

I was wondering if anyone here has done it before and what they thought of it?
Any thoughts on what the weather would be like around September? I'd assume there'd still be a fair bit of snow on the track.

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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby bshwckr » Sat 02 Oct, 2010 2:31 pm

I am thinking about doing the Dusky early next year. I would also like to hear from anyone that has already done the walk.
Last edited by bshwckr on Sat 02 Oct, 2010 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby Lizzy » Sat 02 Oct, 2010 6:17 pm

don't know about the Dusky but toward the end of Nov last year alot of the tracks (around Q'town/ Wannaka) still had winter bridges removed and advised ice axe/crampons due to late & good snow falls....
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby sef » Sun 03 Oct, 2010 7:34 pm

Hi Damien -- it's a great track. A real experience.

A lot of writeups on the 'net make it sound like the authors dodged bullets, but if you're comfortable with a reasonable chance of benightment, tree roots, waist deep mud and sandflies, the days are fairly short and the rewards are pretty big. DoC Te Anau are getting pretty intense at scaring off the backpackers, so I'd say the calibre of people on the track is also pretty good.

Definitely go in via Hauroko (most people could get to Lake Roe the first day) as the tops there are the highlight of the track. Also do go on to Supper Cove - fond memories of catching blue cod off the rocks with mussels. Check the tide times or get creative and you can save yourself an hour or two wading the sound. Transport is via a scheduled service on Hauroko (twice weekly, ~$80 a few years ago) and the hourly Real Journeys boats on West Arm (~$40). Floatplanes can also land near Supper Cove and seem to with some regularity (once a week?).

That said -- September may be too wet. The track is a lot quicker when it hasn't rained in a while (ie a few days) and all three valleys (Hauroko, Seaforth and Spey) flood extensively. Light but consistent overnight rain is enough to have you swimming parts of a backed up Seaforth -- and if you read the hut books, that's a regular happening even in the dryer months. If there is still a lot of snow, it'll likely be heavy and sloppy and you'll have some avy hazard (not a terrible lot, but enough to be cautious)

If you think you can work with that, check to see that the Hauroko transport is running (or you could charter it) and I'd suggest taking an axe and a heap of food. Val who runs the Hauroko boat or Southern Link helicopters would be your best bet to ask for conditions. DoC will warn you off going.
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby ninjapuppet » Mon 04 Oct, 2010 2:08 am

sorry for my ignorance, but what would the axe be for?
i have noticed some ultralight backpackers in the US also take axes!??!?! would it be to chop firewood for a camp fire I suppose?
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby sef » Mon 04 Oct, 2010 9:37 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_axe

You'd be a long time chopping wood with one.
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby ninjapuppet » Mon 04 Oct, 2010 10:50 am

sef wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_axe

You'd be a long time chopping wood with one.



oh that explains everything.... i was thinking along the lines of something like this at 2:20 mins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOrRWw07F7k
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby Biggles » Thu 18 Nov, 2010 4:40 pm

The axe is useful for chopping through DoC red tape. Getting on any NZ track is fraught with chance-or-no...
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby wayno » Sun 19 Jun, 2011 11:27 am

if you don't know what an ice axe is in the first place, the dusky track in winter is no place to be learning how to use one, let alone crampons as well.... the same goes for a lot of newzealand where the tracks run over mountain passes and ridge
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby jickham » Fri 18 Oct, 2013 6:15 am

Hey guys,

Bringing this old post to the top again :).

I was looking at Dusky Track and wondering if anyone has walked the track in the last year or so. Was looking to do it with a friend in Jan / Feb. Is peak of summer good time of year to walk?

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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby wayno » Fri 18 Oct, 2013 6:27 am

i havent done it but have been to fiordland numerous times
The dusky doesnt suffer from overcrowding in summer. it's no guarantee of good weather though, summer can still be pretty wet, and not necessarily that warm all the time... but at least you've got plenty of hours of daylight to play with. I havent done it but speaking to people who have, you take advantage of good weather with doing long days because you could be cut off from high river levels on the bad days...
the more stable weather may not hit till late jan or even later towards the end of summer and into autumn. doesnt matter what time of year i go to fiordland i can get bad weather.
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby Andrew P » Fri 25 Oct, 2013 10:37 pm

Hi boys and girls.
We walked the Dusky Track in Feb 2012.
Fabulous walk. Hard walk.We were on it with someone who was bringing his brother on it for the second walk in the brother's life. Needless to say, he hated it, and we had fears for his wellbeing once or twice.
In short - expect hard work, give yourself eight days, expect rain for about half of it. If you get good weather on the tops, then consider yourself Blest.
It is one of the highlight walks of my walking life. Truly. And highlights of it were the side trips; Tamatea Peak, Supper Cove (we did as a day trip, less to carry), and Mt Memphis. None necessary to do, but all the more enriching for doing them.
This trek is very weather dependent. And the odds are that you'll get some weather over eight days!
The bogs approaching Upper Spey Hut were unbelievable, as were several in the middle of the walk too.
Oh, did I mention wet boots? Let me mention them...
WET BOOTS. FOR FIVE OF THE EIGHT DAYS. (I'm sure others will up that to all of the days they spent on track).
That about sums it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/apurdam/se ... 484558853/ has our photo record (and some other info)
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby icefest » Fri 25 Oct, 2013 10:47 pm

Andrew P wrote:http://www.flickr.com/photos/apurdam/sets/72157629484558853/ has our photo record (and some other info)

What photostitching program did you use?
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: NZ - Dusky Track

Postby Andrew P » Sat 26 Oct, 2013 7:56 pm

ptgui
http://www.ptgui.com
There's plenty out there, though. I liked ptgui because it can export to multi-layers for fine repair in Photoshop. Not that I bother with doing that these days.
It can also do spheres and all sorts of geeky stuff.
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