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  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Mesopotamia High Country Walk
  • Overview
  • Itinerary & Map
  • What's Included
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Overview
For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Mesopotamia High Country Walk

Start:ChristchurchTours run:November - April (Tuesdays - on demand)
End:Christchurch
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moderate grade
Duration:4 days/3 nights
US$1,282.17
excl GST
Walking






qualmark activity2DO NOT Miss This Tour!

The Mesopotamia High Country Walk is an awe-inspiring four day fully guided walking tour to some of the most remote parts of the Canterbury High Country. “High Country” is a New Zealand term for the elevated pastoral land found in the shadow of our mountain ranges, an area of low rainfall, cold winters and warm summers, huge isolated tracts of land settled and now farmed by a few hardy souls. It is a region of high mountains, wide braided rivers and golden tussock lands, a true lost world and one that will captivate you with its grandeur and unspoilt beauty.

Your walking tour focuses on Mesopotamia Station, the high country farm originally established by the English writer Samuel Butler in 1860. Butler was the son of a clergyman and destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, however he resisted and emigrated to New Zealand, choosing the life of a high country sheep farmer instead. This experience was to form the basis of his most famous literary work “Erewhon”.

Mesopotamia Station was purchased in 1945 by the Prouting Family, the current owners who have been farming here for several generations. Join your local walking guide to explore this historic station, and its surrounding trails. This is not a public trail; we walk over farm tracks, paddocks and tussock lands as we explore the station. Walks can include some hill climbs, small stream or creek crossings and walking on varied and uneven terrain, so is classified moderate.

The Mesopotamia High Country Walk incorporates walks to sites of historical and natural significance such as the final resting place of New Zealand’s Colonial Secretary, Dr Andrew Sinclair. Dr Sinclair was surveying the region with Julius von Haast in 1861 and drowned in the Rangitata River trying to get back to Butlers homestead at Mesopotamia. We also visit Peel Forest Reserve, where you can see first-hand,remnants of a lush forest of podocarps and ferns that once covered much of Canterbury and we walk to Mystery Lake and Mount Sunday (time permitting) a location well known to fans of the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

Be inspired by stories of hardship and survival, explore the land New Zealand’s pioneers fought to tame, and enjoy the peace and isolation of one of this country’s most iconic high country farms on the Mesopotamia High Country Walk - the true Middle Earth walking experience.


Itinerary button
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Mesopotamia High Country Walk Highlights Video

(4:06min)
  • Soaring landscapes
  • Remote location
  • History
  • Tranquility
  • Food to die for

Dates For Next Summer

2018

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 13 February 2018
  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.

btn enquire


Mesopotamia download


Mesopotamia Walkers Said....


“Thoroughly enjoyed every day!”
Angela and Peter, Auckland , March 2017
 

“A great trip for anyone with a good fitness level who wants to get out in the high country for a good look, hear the history, see the geology, botany and enjoy being with like-minded folk. I was sorry when it was over-thank you Tuatara Tours for organising it”
Jill, Whangarei, March 2013
 

Dates and Availability?

Tours run:November - April (Tuesdays - on demand)
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Customisations?

We can customise tours to suit.

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Itinerary & Map

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire






Mesopotamia High Country Walk


DO NOT Miss This Tour

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The Mesopotamia High Country Walk is an awe-inspiring four day fully guided walking tour, which includes the Mesopotamia High Country Station and the spectacular Peel Forest Scenic Reserve in the South Island of New Zealand.


You will experience soaring landscapes, snow capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock covered tundras. High country stations have a unique part in the history of New Zealand and the early pioneering characters have been immortalised in print in numerous books covering this era.

Mesopotamia High Country Walk








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Day 1: Christchurch to Mesopotamia


After meeting your fellow walkers and your guide for the next four days, you depart Christchurch and enjoy a scenic drive out across the Canterbury Plains to Mesopotamia High Country Station, situated at the headwaters of the mighty Rangitata River. The drive takes approximately 2 hours and on arrival at Mesopotamia High Country Station you will collect your packed lunch and your walking gear and head out for today’s walk, a journey across “The Brabazon”, one of the large blocks of farmland on the Mesopotamia property.

Your walk takes you up and back into the hills behind the Mesopotamia Homestead, with stunning views back down the Rangitata River Valley, over the surrounding mountain ranges and on to the Southern Alps in the distance. You will enjoy your picnic lunch beside one of the many small streams or on a comfortable tussock cushion as you take in the view.

After lunch, you continue to explore Mesopotamia Station. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of small sub alpine plants, birds and butterflies, and if luck is on your side, a sighting of a deer in the wild.

Returning late afternoon to the cottages, you will have time to freshen up before a hearty home cooked dinner prepared by your hostess and a relaxing evening in front of the fire with your fellow walkers.
 


Day 2: Mesopotamia High Country Station


After breakfast we head out to continue exploring Mesopotamia Station. Today’s walk concentrates on the trails around the homestead, and along the top terraces of the station, with a backdrop of the majestic “Two Thumbs’ mountain range of the Southern Alps. From here you can admire the views that attracted the writer Samuel Butler to the region, and which was the inspiration for his satirical novel “Erewhon”.

Mesopotamia Station covers an area of 25,000 acres and is home to over 11,000 merino sheep, 3,000 farmed deer and 500 beef cattle. The circular route today will take you from your accommodation, through the game park where you are likely to see magnificent fallow deer, red deer, chamois, thar and elk, and back to the cottages mid-afternoon, where you can relax until dinner.

For those keen to explore further, the farm outbuildings, the local school house and the site of Butler’s house all make for interesting historical landmarks. You spend a second night at the Mesopotamia Station Cottages.
 


Day 3: Mesopotamia - Peel Forest - Mt Somers


After breakfast we take a short walk to the final resting place of Dr Andrew Sinclair, botanist and Colonial Secretary to the New Zealand Government. Dr Sinclair was travelling with his good friend, the geologist Julius Von Haast, when he was swept away and drowned in the flooded Rangitata River, beside which he now lies.

Mid-morning we prepare to leave Mesopotamia Station and drive to Peel Forest, where you will walk the trails of the Peel Forest Scenic Reserve. Many of the original settlers of the region are buried in the small stone church that the original owner of Mt Peel Station, J.B A Acland, gifted to the community. We make a short stop at the church on our journey through to Peel Forest this morning.

Your walk today takes you on a journey through the Reserve, with its canopy of towering podocarps, rich in bird life. The Reserve has 500 hectares of virgin native forest, with several totara trees said to be around 1000 years old. Its mild moist climate is also ideal for ferns and around 36% of all native ferns grown in New Zealand are found in this area. You will be refreshed by the sound of birdsong and the fresh, cool air of the forest.

This evening we relax and dine at a comfortable country lodge and chalets in Mt Somers.
 


Day 4: Mt Somers - Hakatere - Christchurch


Today is our last day in the High Country, and our longest day of walking. After an early breakfast in your chalet, we journey by coach to the head of Lake Clearwater, travelling up the northern side of the Rangitata River Valley.

Originally Butler’s Mesopotamia Station stretched over both sides of the river and today we explore the area at the top of the river, referred to more commonly these days as Middle Earth. Our walk takes us out from Lake Clearwater, up into a tussock covered mountain valley to the shoreline of Mystery Lake, where we picnic beside the lake. Keep your eyes peeled for brown trout, the lake is a well-kept secret for local fisher folk.

Returning from Mystery Lake we follow the ridge line down above the Potts River, with amazing views of the valley below, a fantastic panorama back over Mesopotamia Station and the area we have travelled over the last 4 days.

Your return to Christchurch is around 7pm so if you are considering flying home today, please make sure you book a late evening flight to ensure you have plenty of time to spare.
Accommodation:
  • Walking
 
Hrs, KM

Dates For Next Summer

2018

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 13 February 2018
  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.

btn enquire


Mesopotamia download


Mesopotamia Walkers Said....


“Thoroughly enjoyed every day!”
Angela and Peter, Auckland , March 2017
 

“A great trip for anyone with a good fitness level who wants to get out in the high country for a good look, hear the history, see the geology, botany and enjoy being with like-minded folk. I was sorry when it was over-thank you Tuatara Tours for organising it”
Jill, Whangarei, March 2013
 

What's Included

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire






Mesopotamia High Country Walk


Accommodation

 
Day One & Day Two
  • Farm Cottages on Mesopotamia Station.
Originally housing farm workers, the cottages now host hunters, tramping parties and family groups. Each cottage has 3 bedrooms, a communal lounge and kitchen, and a shared bathroom. This is basic but comfortable high country accommodation in keeping with the location and feel of the tour.

Day Three
  • Private stand-alone studio chalets with ensuite bathrooms.

*Please note accommodation is double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee of $281 per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the walk.




Mesopotamia Station on Tour NZ
 
 

Food


You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.

If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.

Alcohol is not included in the tour cost.You are welcome to bring along a small amount for personal consumption on Nights 1 and 2. Alcohol is available for purchase Night 3.



Mesopotamia Tour Guides NZ
 
 

Fully Guided


Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.



Mesopotamia Tour Guides NZ
 




 



Mesopotamia Tour Guides NZ









 
 
 

Exclusive to Tuatara Tours - Tour Kit Bag

To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a calico kit bag full of useful goodies on the morning of your tour departure.

Mesopotamia Tour Guides NZ  kit



mesob
                 








 
 

Your Tour Kit Bag Contains the Following

Contents may vary from time to time!
  • Tuatara Tours cap
  • Tuatara Tours cup
  • Tuatara Tours drink bottle
  • Tuatara Tours hand sanitiser
  • Tuatara Tours tissues
  • Tuatara Tours lip balm and sunblock
  • Tuatara Tours emergency whistle
  • Tuatara Tours brochures
  • Field & History Guide of the area
  • Bag of Tuatara scroggin
  • Bag of Tuatara energy plus confectionary
Contents may vary from time to time!  


Luggage


Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.

All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch.

We do the Rest
   


What Do I Bring


For your own safety there are a few things that you must bring yourself:
  • Footwear with good ankle support – we recommend good hiking boots
  • Thermal top wool or polypro
  • Thermal bottom wool or polypro or long trousers
  • Waterproof parka with hood
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Fleece jacket or woollen jersey
  • Woollen or fleece hat
  • Gloves
  • Medium size day pack
Other things we recommend you bring are:  
  • Woollen socks
  • Dressing gown
  • Hat, sunglasses
  • Drink bottle – at least one litre capacity (we supply you with one bottle, but you may wish to bring another)
  • Swim wear
  • Sunscreen & insect repellent
  • Flannel
  • Camera
  • Small personal first aid kit including blister block or similar, Motion sickness medication, anti-histamines for bee stings
  • Casual attire for the evenings
  • Any other personal items
  • Your sense of humour
   


Safety and Risk Management


To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.


 

Dates For Next Summer

2018

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 13 February 2018
  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.

btn enquire


Mesopotamia download


Mesopotamia Walkers Said....


“Thoroughly enjoyed every day!”
Angela and Peter, Auckland , March 2017
 

“A great trip for anyone with a good fitness level who wants to get out in the high country for a good look, hear the history, see the geology, botany and enjoy being with like-minded folk. I was sorry when it was over-thank you Tuatara Tours for organising it”
Jill, Whangarei, March 2013
 

Photos

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire







Dates For Next Summer

2018

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 13 February 2018
  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.

btn enquire


Mesopotamia download


Mesopotamia Walkers Said....


“Thoroughly enjoyed every day!”
Angela and Peter, Auckland , March 2017
 

“A great trip for anyone with a good fitness level who wants to get out in the high country for a good look, hear the history, see the geology, botany and enjoy being with like-minded folk. I was sorry when it was over-thank you Tuatara Tours for organising it”
Jill, Whangarei, March 2013
 

History

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire






 

Mesopotamia High Country Walk - Free Field and History Guide

On the Mesopotamia High Country Walk we provide you a comprehensive field and history summary of the area.
Mesopotamia Tour Guide NZ  
  • History
  • Station Life Today
  • Fauna
  • Flora
  • Geology
  • Did You Know?
  • And more...

People

Mesopotamia high country station is located in the headwaters of the Rangitata River. The station was named by Samuel Butler from the Greek words mesos and potamos, meaning ‘the land between two rivers’, originally describing the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in modern Iraq).

Samuel Butler – Mesopotamia’s founder and most famous owner, set out from England aboard the Roman Emperor in early 1860. He came with the intention of increasing his capital by sheep farming, but by the time he reached Lyttelton all the known sheep country in Canterbury had been taken up.

Mesopotamia Tour  History

In effect, he could either buy the goodwill of a sheep station at the current rate of £100 per 1000 acres, or try to find unoccupied land which could be taken up at a cost of £1 per 1000 acres.

He purchased a good horse and travelled to the headwaters of the Rakaia and the Waimakariri without success. He then explored Forest Creek, a tributary of the Rangitata River. Here were some 5000 acres of unclaimed country. In May he added another 5000 acres of unoccupied land on the southern slopes of the Sinclair Range. He now owned the nucleus of his Mesopotamia Station.

In October 1860 he moved to the present Mesopotamia homestead site where he built a sod and a cob cottage and lived there for the next three and a half years. He carted up a piano in a bullock dray, and with his books and pictures he created a small oasis of comfort and civilisation in this remote corner of Canterbury.

‘I went up my mountain in a fog, and then got above the mist; going higher and higher, I would look down upon a sea of whiteness, through which would be thrust innumerable mountain-tops that looked like islands. I am there now, as I write, I fancy that I can see the downs, the huts, the plain and the river bed – that torrent pathway of desolation, with its distant roar of water, oh wonderful! Wonderful! So lonely and so solemn, with the sad grey clouds above and no sounds save a lost lamb bleating upon the mountain-side, as though its little heart were breaking.’

Samuel Butler, Erewhon

Mesopotamia Tour  History
From the past!
Fallow deer Mesopotamia
Fallow deer
Red deer Mesopotamia
Red deer


Mesopotamia Station Today

Mesopotamia is surrounded by the majestic Two Thumbs mountain range of the Southern Alps and the huge braided Rangitata River.

The surrounding area provided the backdrop to many scenes from the Lord of the Rings movie.

Mesopotamia Station is a family-run and traditionally farmed, working sheep, deer and cattle farm, now diversifying into other high country ventures, including hunting for Thar, Deer, Chamois, and Red Stag.
Wildlife in Mesopotamia
It is about 457 metres (1800 ft) above sea level rising to 2660 metres (7500 ft). Its size is just over 25,000 acres and currently has 11,000 merino sheep, 3000 deer and 500 cattle. Tourism and hunting concession areas cover some 75,000 acres.

Exclusive Mesopotamia Merino wool garments

Mesopotamia owners have developed a selected range of 100% pure Merino garments for use in the town or out on the hills. The garments were designed by the farm staff.

Both the design and the colours are specifically chosen to reflect the New Zealand high country – black and deep forest green.

(ASK YOUR GUIDE FOR MORE INFORMATION)
merino wool  Mesopotamia
Several good jerseys on these fellows

Dates For Next Summer

2018

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 13 February 2018
  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.

btn enquire


Mesopotamia download


Mesopotamia Walkers Said....


“Thoroughly enjoyed every day!”
Angela and Peter, Auckland , March 2017
 

“A great trip for anyone with a good fitness level who wants to get out in the high country for a good look, hear the history, see the geology, botany and enjoy being with like-minded folk. I was sorry when it was over-thank you Tuatara Tours for organising it”
Jill, Whangarei, March 2013
 
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new zealand: 0800 377 378
australia: 1800 044 633
world: +64 3 962 3280
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