Dart River (I/II) from Daley’s Flat Hut

A great overnight trip, to explore a newly formed lake.  Some fun, easy paddling in a gorgeous valley.

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Be aware that Dart River Safaris commercial Jetboats can travel as far as Slip Stream. Read the Jetboat courtesy code, and give them a call before you head out!

The Dart Track

Currently the lower reaches of the Dart Track is massively effected by storm damage, as well as a huge slip that dammed the river and created a new lake. The track can still be negotiated in most parts by people who are used to following unmaintained tracks, and who can route find around track damage. It took us 7 hours of determined effort to reach the Daley’s Flat Hut, compared with the 4-5hr track time.

See the DOC Website for more information and updates: Rees Dart Track

Dart Lake

As the river flows into the lake, it gets pretty shallow. There’s some fun exploring to be had among the drowned forests and beneath huge bluffs.

Lower Dart River (II P)

At the outlet of the lake, there are quite a few strainers which leads to a bit of portaging. Below there is a handful of smaller class II rapids plenty of class I

Lower Dart River (I Braids)

Once the river braids, the rapids are over.. Took about 3.5hrs from the hut to the car park.


Dart River at Hillocks

5 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Tim Lorenz says:

    We’re beginners so this was our first own trip (no experience and nothing to compare).

    We tramped up to Daleys Flat Hut, camped there and packrafted out till Kinloch (~45km). We started ~8.45am and arrived at Kinloch DOC campsite ~4.15pm.

    The upper part is quite easy and gentle but we had already some sections w/ low water level (El NiƱo = very dry year).

    Crossing the “lake” (actually no lake atm) was very easy, just find the main flow.

    After leaving the lake the river starts w/ first rapids. Lots of rocks and stones, we had to spot twice from the side to find the best flow. Still to less water for a proper raft (sat sometimes on rocks). When the river flows through the trunks/old trees watch out for hidden strainers (only 2 or 3) ’cause the water is complettly grey of silt.
    It is the only section where we secured us w/ throwbacks.

    In the mid and lower sections it was easy rafting, more paddling skills needed. Due to the low water level we had to carry our stuff sometimes. Especially ~1hr before Dart bridge we couldn’t find the main flow. But also after the bridge we couldn’t raft it w/o portage so be prepare to do so as well.

    The N-NW helped us a lot, wouldn’t recommend the whole tour by wind from S. Maybe than better finish at Chinammans or the bridge?

    Easy Tour for beginners, stunning views and lots of fun!

    • Date of your trip -20/03/24
    • Estimated/gauge flow -?
    • When did it last rain and how much? -Longer time ago, only a few mm
    • How long did it take to paddle the section described here? -7,5hrs
    • Any new hazards? -Just look out for strainers right after leaving the lake and the next hour
  2. Ian Straton says:

    Paddled 29th in heavy rain! The river was in flood at around 250 cumecs. We put in at the Bedford Stream bridge (so below the big slip). It is worth noting that the Dart track is no longer where it shown on the map, it has been diverted significantly away from the river after Bedford Stream and stays high above the river with no obvious way down and no visibility of the river. This means there is no way to scout the area through the slip and sunken forest before you are committed to it.

    The section we did (Bedford Stream to Chinamans bluff carpark) had some very large features on it due to the high flow but they could be easily avoided for the most part due to the width of the river, most of the features were close to the banks. At 250 cumecs I would say the river would rate a solid grade 2 as it is very “pushy” and some experience/skill is required to read the river in order to avoid the bigger features and strainers.

    • Date of your trip -29/10/2022
    • Estimated/gauge flow -250 cumecs
    • When did it last rain and how much? -overnight ~ 10mm in 12 hours.
    • How long did it take to paddle the section described here? -1 hour 20 minutes
    • Any new hazards? -
  3. Ran this trip solo last weekend. The lake was a braided stream – quite silty when approaching the slip. A short portage to get into McBride stream – stunning!
    I was fine to portage the slip section if needed, knowing i was solo. However, the rapids were only G2 on this particular run, and there was only one obvious log portage blocking a channel drop. Very easy to navigate around the trees and logs – i never felt unsafe. Stick to river right as much as possible to avoid some inside corner strainers.

    • Date of your trip -14/10/2022
    • Estimated/gauge flow -40 cumecs (median is 50 cumecs)
    • When did it last rain and how much? -One week prior - small amount
    • How long did it take to paddle the section described here? -3 hours
    • Any new hazards? -No, but be sure to scout all sections to identify fallen underwater logs.
  4. Philip Watson says:

    As the previous trip report says , but with the following (paddled 24 November) :

    1. The entry into the dart lake is shallow. We got the wrong braid and had to get out of the raft – onto sinking sand up to knee depth. BE CAREFUL. Looked like a better line is to the left near the dead trees.
    2. When you get to the slipstream alluvial fan take the time to paddle up McBride burn. A short 2 min portage is needed to get past a log jam.
    3. Don’t paddle along the alluvial fan – the dead forest strainers will be a death trap. A relatively easy portage for about 25 to 30 minutes is a much better option.
    4. Downstream from the fan the going as relatively easy with lots of get out points to scout around blind corners. Just watch out for the usual log snags boils and pillow waves.

  5. SimonB says:

    I headed up the dart on the weekend and agree with the portage around the landslide. you can safely run the first 100 or so meters of the river until you see a stand of trees in the middle of the river. We portaged the true right side of the landslide down to just below the last strainer. After that there are a couple small drops, the river is passable after this though there are some big waves before chinamans bluff.

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