The landslip (top, centre of image) and new lake in the
Dart Valley. The track detour will traverse the dense bush
and steep slopes on the eastern (true left) side of the
lake. Photo by Chris Hankin.
Walking access through the Dart Valley is set to be
reinstated by the end of January after Department of
Conservation (Doc) rangers finished their survey of a new route
around the large lake and massive landslip which blocked the
track on January 4.
Senior conservation services ranger Richard Kennett yesterday
said an alternative route for trampers had been identified
which would take them safely past the affected area.
A new track would now cut a route above the newly formed lake
on its eastern, or true left, side, before leading trampers
to the usual track over Sandy Bluff. After this point the
track would descend to the eastern bank of the river.
''More changes will be required there when the landslide has
forced the river to erode the bank and undercut the track,''
Mr Kennett said.
''As the realigned track will remain on the true left of the
Dart River, the landslide debris will be avoided
While the department would endeavour to clear the vegetation
it would be very rough and muddy underfoot.
It would not be passable in wet weather as it crossed several
streams which would quickly flood during heavy rain, becoming
hazardous for trampers to cross.
Mr Kennett estimated the roughness of the track would add 1-2
hours to the standard walking time between Daleys Flat Hut
and Chinamans Bluff, usually 3.5 to 5.5 hours.
Work on the track realignment would start soon and was
expected to take up to two weeks to complete. Until the new
track was completed the Dart Valley Track between Bedford
Stream and Daleys Flat Hut remained closed.
Work could be delayed by weather or conditions on the ground
and Doc was expected to make a further announcement when the
new track was to be opened.
Rangers would then monitor conditions on the new route for
the remainder of the summer before seeking to make
improvements during the winter months.
The Dart Valley landslip had formed within an existing zone
of instability located in the Te Koroka/Slip Stream area. The
zone had been depositing fresh material into the valley for
more than a year however, heavy rainstorms led to the much
larger landslip on January 4.
Further rain would continue to deliver more material into the
valley. GNS considered the landslip-related debris flows and
the resultant lake posed no additional hazard on the lower
Dart River below the dam.