Across the top of Pleasant Range in Fiordland. Credit: Béatrice Fierens Gevaert

How to conquer the Dusky Track

22 Feb 2022

Attention kiwi trampers, are you considering the Dusky Track? The Dusky is only recommended for fit and experienced trampers, searching for a good challenge in a harsh environment! If this sounds good to you - read on to know more.

Linking Lake Hauroko and Lake Manapouri, the 84km long Dusky track is one of Aotearoa’s toughest multi day hikes. But like most challenges, the reward of amazing views is well worth the effort. The rugged terrain offers up muddy tracks, and gushing rivers (often needing to be crossed) to test the resilience of most trampers.

The Dusky Track can be walked in either direction - however, a boat is always needed to reach each starting point. To make things easier for you, we offer a return transport connection package that allows you to walk the track from south to north, allowing you to focus on the actual walk without having to plan the drop-off and pick up. It takes around 8 days to complete the track, with the possibility to add an extra two-day detour to discover the Supper Cove in Tamatea/Dusky Sound. 

Mountain scene on the Dusky Track at sunrise

Watch the sun set over the rugged Fiordland mountain tops. Credit: @inpursuitofthewild

There are 21 wire bridges to cross along the track, some smaller and some bigger, getting more and more slippery with muddy boots. The added challenge of climbing up and down steep cliffs, overgrown with moss and beech roots add an extra touch of adventure. Fiordland is known for its luscious greenery, but for that to be thriving, a lot of rain is needed. You can expect to push your way through knee-deep mud, climb around fallen trees and wade through rivers. When it’s not raining, the air can feel very damp and heavy. Any stop along the way with a little breeze will be highly welcomed, especially to keep the sandflies at bay.

climbing chains in the rain on the Dusky Track in fiordland

Conquer steep and slipper cliffs along the way @jesscbruce

There are 8 public huts along the Dusky Track, providing shelter, warmth, a bed to sleep and basic facilities. However, you should not forget to pack enough food and clothing for an extra two days. It is not uncommon to be stranded at a hut if the weather has turned bad. Ready made meals can get boring quite quickly and often taste marginal at best.  So prepare well and send your tastebuds on an adventure too with these top tips for the best tramping food.

But most important to having a good time on the Dusky Track is great company. The hike may get tough, and the mood might low at times, so surround yourself with people who are uplifting and supportive with an overall positive outlook on the world. This track will be a bonding experience like no other, creating amazing memories and anecdotes to look back on in years to come.

tramping hut on the dusky track surrounded by mountains and tussocks

A remote hut on the Dusky Track is just the isolation we need right now! Credit Beatrice Gevaert

Experience and discover Fordland’s hinterland at its rawest and challenge yourself with one of New Zealand’s toughest tracks, the Dusky Track! Open this summer.

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