Apparently the walk through rather than back out was longer but easier - I don't know if climbing the Rees saddle twice was a good idea!! My Father who is about 24 stone managed it but is not too keen to repeat. This is a man who used to run the tracks at the age of 18!!!! He still said it is the best scenery he's ever seen in NZ. The 3 km walk towards the Dart glacier was a thrill. I fully recommend it!!
From Queenstown, take the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road around Lake Wakatipu. Continue north from Glenorchy and follow the Rees Valley Road along the true left bank of the Rees River. A rough 4X4 track with several fords leads to a car park. Transport can be arranged in Queenstown.
The track was a nice rainforest walk for the first day. A bit boggy this time of year but nothing compared to the next 2 days. The Shelter Rock Hut is a DOC hut so is very nice (well maintained). There's plenty of room but no bookings available, which would have been useful for the Dart Hut. The Shelter Rock Hut is surrounded in mountains peaked in snow. We were woken by 3 keas (so put your boots inside!) who came into our hut and became very good friends (I'm sure they only wanted to eat my sleeping bag). The second day to Dart Hut was hard. It was to take 5-7 hr but took us 10 (we do take long breaks though to enjoy the amazing scenery). The walk through the valley was long and we lost the track for a while so the extra effort used in walking over tussock was not welcomed. We were rewarded though with a view overlooking turrets and up to a sheer wall of rock and glaciers! The apparently 'gradual' walk down to Dart was harsh. I would have perhaps split the day in two at my current fitness level, and I wasn't the only one who agreed (even experienced trampers commented on the difficulty) so watch your knees! I can't express how gratifying the whole trip was. I'm definitely doing it again but this time I'll take a few mates so Dad doesn't have to put himself through that again. He did add that if he can go to his grave with the scenery of the Rees and Dart in his mind he'll be a happy man (a true KIWI joker)!