DOC has announced its plan to reopen the Dart Track later this year. The popular track has been closed since January 2015 after flooding caused a large slip on the Sandy Flat section of the Dart River. The trail should be fully open by November 2016, allowing trampers to once again complete the full Rees-Dart circuit track.
Slip Stream area landslide has posed numerous issues for DOC, which has been monitoring the erosion for the past year. DOC’s operations manager Geoff Owen said after the slip last year, the river environment was “particularly volatile” due to heavy rainfall. Now that the land has had time to settle, work can begin to rehabilitate the walking trails. The new route will be further from the river in order to ensure a more permanent and stable path.
DOC will begin work on the new track at the end of winter, and will create a new 4.4km stretch of trail. The new section will likely appeal to trampers wanting to avoid Great Walk-style trails. Owen said the new track will “passively flow with the natural landscape with minimal structures and rock blasting”.
“The closure of the Dart Track section has had significant implications for the destination as a whole and has left a number of important assets under-utilised,” Owen said. “Our priority is getting people back out there.”
Trampers are advised to contact the Queenstown or Wanaka DOC Visitor Centres for the latest information.