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a VirtualTourist member from Brisbane


Dart Valley advice

Can anyone help with a really nice and scenic walk/tramp near the Dart River into the Dart Valley - in the Paradise vicinity of Glenorchy?

There's a lovely river entry called The Chasm upriver from the Arcadia Homestead, which I'd love to see! Is there an inexpensive way of visiting this location, either on foot or kayak?

How far could you go in a non-4WD vehicle towards Paradise? Could you go past Diamond Lake as far as Arcadia Homestead or even further?

Any help would be highly appreciated. Thanks!

3 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Lake Forest

that place is wonderful and rarely any people (except the residents who's dirt roads you will be driving past)
I did not go into the river by kayak on this part but there are many different hiking paths, and graded dirt roads. Certainly past Paradise and Diamond Lake. There is an old growth forest in there that is very scenic. So scenic its used on the Lord of the Rings movies.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Christchurch

I have made some hikes in this area - but you should always get detailed into at the info centre in Glenorchy (on the right side of the road, coming from Queenstown). Some of the tracks have river crossings, some are not very well marked, most take much longer than you might think - so such info is needed. Also on the Paradise road you have to cross some fords which might be a bit tricky after rain.

You can drive past Paradise (although the gravel road starts some few kms north of Glenorchy. But there can be washouts etc. Always check with the info centre first. You also can book transport there if needed.

I do not remember the name The Chasm although we have been and walked in the area past Paradise some years ago. We walked in the area last weekend - but from the Routeburn access road (Lake Sylvan), not Paradise. When driving past the carpark, I thought Mt. Alfred would be a great walk with great views - but we had to be back in Queenstown for another tour, so had no time to do it. Many walks require walking through forests for a while until you get scenic views. Also be aware that for some walks you need a permission by the farmers, as many tracks are on private land.

Referring to kayaking at the head of the lake: Last weekend I would surely not have dared to get in a kayak. It was very windy, and the riverflow very fast. When it is windy you get dusted in because the wide riverbeds are made up of rocks and therefore rock flour, and when it is windy you feel like in a storm in the desert.

For info about The Chasm you best contact the Glenorchy info centre:

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Christchurch

I have just looked at a hiking and tour map of Glenorchy, and I remembered your question about the Chasm.

I am sure you mean the Rockburn Chasm. There are two ways to reach it.

1. On foot - but not from Paradise but from the Routeburn/Kinloch Road and from the Lake Sylvan Walk. There is a round trip which leads further north of Lake Sylvan, and it is called Sylvan-Rockburn Track, and looks like 6 hours. In other info sites it is called Sugarloaf/Rockburn Track. On the DOC website they write about 8 hours. So if you walk rather fast you should be able to make it in 6 to 7 hours.

To get back to the car you have to walk a short stretch on the Routeburn Track.

2. The second way to get to the Chasm is a Dart River Safari. They mention the Rockburn Chasm in the description of the Funyak Safari which is a mixture of jetboat, canoe and 4WD tour. But it has a steep price of NZ$ 279.

To do this yourself from Paradise or wherever you might get on the Dart River seems rather a difficult task to me, as you would have to paddle upstream. Walking from this side seems impossible to me, as you would have to cross the Dart River, to get to the Rockburn river which flows into the Dart. Or you would have to get a kayak about 5 km past Paradise and get on the Dart there, and straight into the Rockburn. You would have to find a very helpful person who would do that for you... But who know, nothing is impossible ;-)

As said in an earlier post, best you get info about it at the Glenorchy Visitor Centre.

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