Our original intention was to trek the complete Rees-Dart Track, but due to late snowfall this year, the DOC office advised against it because of avalanche risk on the Rees Saddle. A pity, but we decided to make the most of it anyway by walking the 5-day return track up the Dart Valley to the Dart Glacier.
The problem with walking the track in this direction is that the Info&Track bus usually drops hikers off in the morning at the Rees start point and then picks them up in the afternoon at the Dart end point. Consequently, we didn't get started until mid-afternoon which put pressure on our agenda given our heavy backpacks full of camping provisions. I guess on reflection, we may have gone overboard with the fresh food supplies and after a few hours the onion, apples, tomatoes and fresh salmon were starting to cause back ache!
The views along the Dart Valley were stunning and equalled any others that we saw on our complete New Zealand trip. The best part about this back country track was that it was not crowded like many of the NZ Great Walks and so the feeling of being alone in the wilderness was very special. Equally enjoyable was the ability to pitch our tent wherever we wanted, which was great since we fell short of reaching both of the huts by end of day.
All in all a great track, but the most difficult of our New Zealand trekking experiences and long days of walking involved. A worthy challenge for experienced trekkers with medium backpack loads. A gruelling adventure for those with heavy backpacks or lacking in experience.
By Darrell Grundy - visited on 11 November 2009