Beginning with blue skies, moving into torrential rain (48 hours straight) and waking on New Years Day to snow across the upper peaks, quietly hoping to be helied out!
Grounded at Dart Hut for 2 days due to high water and dangerous river crossings, we missed out on hiking Cascade Saddle. A blow softened by drinking home brewed beer thanks to the cute Ranger and welcoming in 2009 with a bunch of crazy NZ chicks who told terrible jokes.
We crossed the raging streams, three abreast (Castan a random German hiker with his felt cap came in handy) and despite hiking out through knee deep water nothing could dampen how incredible the scenery was
New Zealand just over delivers every time!
4 Days and 3 Nights (unless you get caught in a flood like we did)!
Night 1. Shelter Rock Hut. Night 2. Dart Hut (can do a day trip up to Cascade Saddle weather permitting). Night 3. Dayleys Flat Hut (crazy black flies). Note we camped and we were glad for that at Shelter Rock where the hut was full of biting bugs and hot! Rating: Beauty - 5/5 Navigation - Easy Gradient - moderate with a few steep sections, numerous river crossing (difficult/danger in severe rain) but otherwise cruisy. Timing: 6-8 hour days. Warnings - Beware of wild wind when saddling along the banks of the Dart River on a narrow trail, the drop can be a bit disconcerting! Also watch the weather for snow and rain due to river crossings. Black flies thick at lower hut on Dart River. Bonus - Homemade beer from the ranger on New Years Eve! Tips: don’t arrive early at Dayleys Flat or you will be eaten alive. Be prepared to take your shoes off a lot! Listen to the warnings, tragically a girl died when we were at Dart Hut, trying to get over Cascade Saddle in severe weather, we spent an extra night at Dart Hut waiting out the flood waters. Overall: Crazy spectacular 9/10 http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/otago/queenstown-wakatipu/rees-dart-track/