There is no immediate danger of a large volume of water being
suddenly released down the Dart River below a dam created by
a landslip on Saturday, GNS Science staff asserted yesterday,
but Doc is still watchful.
The landslip occurred at Sandy Bluff, about 10km above
Chinamans Bluff, about noon on Saturday and a silt band had
been deposited in the river, causing a lake to form behind
A statement from the Department of Conservation (Doc)
yesterday said the lake was now more than 3km long, spanned
the full width of the Dart Valley and was up to 20m deep.
The Dart River flowed through the lake before exiting across
the landslip debris and as water had begun to flow past the
landslip debris, the river was no longer blocked, Doc said.
The lake was expected to slowly subside as the river eroded
the landslip debris.
Jet-boat operator Dart River Jet resumed trips on the river
yesterday afternoon. The company had suspended operations
shortly after the slip.
Dart River Jet regional manager David Kennedy said while the
main Dart River channel had changed direction at the point of
the slip, this was normal for the river after heavy rainfall.
''GNS, Doc, the harbourmaster and Dart River Jet are all
confident that the lake that has formed will gradually lower,
that no abnormally high flows will be experienced downstream,
and that there are no additional hazards posed in the Dart
River below the slip area,'' he said.
Doc conservation services manager John Roberts said many
sections of the Dart Valley Track between Daleys Flat Hut and
Bedford Stream ''are either underwater or are undercut and
have fallen away''.
The track was closed between Daleys Flat Hut and Bedford
Stream and would be for ''some time''.
''As the lake is not likely to disappear quickly, this track
closure will remain in place until further notice. Tramping
the complete Rees-Dart circuit is, therefore, not feasible.''
However, trampers could still walk the Rees Valley to Dart
and Daleys Flat Huts but would need to return the way they
came or exit via the Matukituki Valley.
From the Dart Valley road end, people could still walk from
Chinamans Bluff as far as Bedford Stream before returning.
The landslip occurred within an known area of instability in
the Te Koroka-Slip Stream area and recent rain had brought
down significant debris, which in some places was several
hundred metres wide.
Queenstown Lakes District harbourmaster Marty Black said
people could undertake recreational activities near the river
but should stay alert for any condition changes.
Doc said until more was known about long-term consequences of
the landslip, it would be monitored closely.