Tramping the Dusky track gets you off the beaten track, Fiordland National Park

Dusky Track: The Details!

24 May 2024

The Dusky Track offers experienced hikers a true New Zealand tramping experience with lush forest, wild rivers, epic mountain passes and unrivaled scenery. The Dusky Track is a challenging but rewarding 84+ km tramping track through Fiordland National Park. It takes eight to ten days to complete and links stunning Lake Hauroko with Lake Manapouri. It also offers a two day optional detour to Supper Cove in Dusky Sound.

Note: There are 21 three-wire bridges on this track, and you can expect to encounter tree falls, deep mud for long stretches,  river crossings, and hand-over-foot climbing with chains. Flooding of parts of the track is not unusual and can cause delays for several days, as can snow. This is not for inexperienced hikers (and shouldn’t be attempted as your first hike in NZ) and the best strategy is to take time out to enjoy the track doing one hut a day!

tramping hut with clothing hanging out to dry, situated alongside a waterway on the dusky track.
Drying tramping gear at Supper Cove Hut, Fiordland. Credit: Béatrice Fierens Gevaert

Keep Safe

The Dusky Track is only recommended for experienced, well equipped groups with high fitness levels.

Plan properly for your trip and ensure your party has a capable, experienced leader.

  • We recommend you hike with another person.  There are several places the track is hard to find and getting lost is a real possibility.
  • Please ensure you carry a Personal Locator Beacon or a satellite communication device, and topographical maps and compass for navigation.  Do not rely on cell phones for navigation or communication as there is no coverage or power for charging.
  • Topo50 series maps covering the Dusky Track are: CE05 Cooper Island, CE06 Lake Roe and CD06 Deep Cove.
  • Take enough food, clothing and equipment, portable stoves and fuel. Allow extra food and time for possible delays. Carry some sort of shelter in case you get caught out or the huts are full (which happens over summer).
  • Take care with river crossings. Sections of the Dusky Track flood easily. If in doubt, sit it out. Common flood areas are just before Loch Maree when coming down from Lake Roe (an emergency shelter exists on track from Lake Roe), between Loch Maree and Gair Loch and along the route to Supper Cove.  However it is possible to get flooded at any point given the number of streams and tributaries.
  • Check at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for conditions before you go.
  • The huts all have fireplaces but not necessarily dry wood or functioning saw/axe.  Getting a fire going autumn-spring may be quite difficult.
  • It is generally safe to drink from the streams, rivers and hut water supplies.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

wire bridge in the native forest over a stream on the Dusky Trail Fiordland
Yet another wire bridge on the Dusky Track, Fiordland. Credit: Béatrice Fierens Gevaert

2024/25 Summer Season Details


Scheduled departures available in summer every Thursday from 7 November 2024 to April 2025 (excluding 26 December, Boxing Day). Additional departures are available in peak season; Mon 23 Dec, Fri 27 Dec, Mon 30 Dec and Mon 6 Jan.

This service can be run on alternative days for a minimum of 5 people (or equivalent charge), subject to availability, please enquire.

6:50 am Pick up Te Anau Accommodation

7:10 am View Street Car Park Manapouri 

8:00 am Arrive Clifden Corner to connect with Lake Hauroko Tours

10:30 am Hauroko Burn Hut, start of the southern end of Dusky Track

Return from West Arm is with RealNZ and available every day, we give you an open-dated ticket so you just turn up and check in at the West Arm Visitor Centre or onboard the boat. Departures daily at 11.00 am, or 4.15 pm Boat West Arm to Manapouri (there may be other departures available on the day).  If you need transport from Manapouri back to Te Anau you will need to contact us when you are leaving West Arm (either by cell phone or by speaking with the boat staff who can contact us). We will either collect you  or use the RealNZ bus to transport you back to Te Anau.



Package Cost: NZD$385 per person.

Tramper's package includes return transport from Manapouri or Te Anau, water taxi on Lake Hauroko to Dusky Track start plus RealNZ ferry West Arm to Manapouri.

This service can be run on alternative days for a minimum charge equivalent to 5 people ($1925), please enquire.

Personal Locator Beacon essential equipment

Please carry a PLB, it can save your life. Beacons can be hired at

boat on lake Huaroko to drop trampers off for the Dusky Track
Travel across Lake Hauroko on the water taxi Miro, Fiordland National Park

Tramper Report

January 24 - Tramper report

Thank you very much for our Dusky Track transport. The transport all went very smoothly at both ends and we really enjoyed tramping the track, it was an amazing experience. It was as challenging as expected, and all the various difficulties to negotiate we were warned about were definitely present. The mud (up to thigh / waist deep), sandflies (in swarms especially at Loch Marie), river crossings, three-wires, tree falls and steep ups and downs did not disappoint. Most trampers on the track took longer than the DOC brochure track times by at least an hour and we were no exception, sometimes up to 2 hours over the longer track time stated, so that could be worth flagging to future trampers. The track maintenance is quite poor in most sections with many obstacles over the track to negotiate, with some easier than others. Track markers are also variable in places - we managed to stay on the track throughout but several other trampers followed pink tape trap lines and went off-track making their days longer than otherwise expected. Advising trampers to be careful and look for markers rather than following footprints would be sensible as some footprints lead the wrong way. Wood was all quite damp for starting fires but we managed each time to start a fire when we needed it. We saw excellent bird life including kea, blue duck and rock wren. Great views from both high points during the track - over the tops from Lake Roe, and from Centre Pass. We are now back home in Wellington after a great, satisfying, tramping holiday.


Jack and Phil did the Dusky Track in November 2023, and have shared their experience. It is good watch to see what you may be in for!

Read More Tales