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Overview
For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Mesopotamia, Akaroa Walk - 7 Days

Start:ChristchurchTours run:November - April (On Demand)
End:Christchurch
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moderate grade
Duration:7 days/7 nights
NZ $3,810.00
excl GST
Walking

Walking Tours 7 to 12 days








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Experience soaring landscapes, snow capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock covered tundras. 
 
 

This iconic walk includes Mesopotamia High Country Station and the spectacular Peel Forest Scenic Reserve. You will be captivated by the grandeur of soaring landscapes, snow-capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock-covered tundra. 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- the true Middle Earth.
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From Here we travel to Banks Peninsula. A truly unique and exciting way to explore Banks Peninsula and its surrounds. Spend time in paradise with native birds, plants and fabulous company, as well as huge panoramic landscapes that are unique to the area whilst completing your journey from Christchurch to Akaroa.
 
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Book now for Next Season!

2018 / 2019


We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.


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Akaroa broch-865-789

 


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Dates and Availability?

Tours run:November - April (On Demand)
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Customisations?

We can customise tours to suit.

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Itinerary & Map

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Walking Tours 7 to 12 days







Qualmark smallGold-423


Mesopotamia, Akaroa Walk
7 Days





Experience soaring landscapes, snow capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock covered tundras.
akathumb-48



  Click to enlarge


Day 1 Christchurch to Mesopotamia Station
8km of Walking

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 Station
16km of Walking

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 will again be accommodated in the cottages of the Mesopotamia Station.
 



Day 3 Mesopotamia, Peel Forest, Mt Somers
9km of Walking


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
16km of Walking

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 ridgeline 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 where you stay the night before commencing your walk to Akaroa tomorrow. Dinner tonight is at your expense.
 



Day 5 Godley Head to Diamond Harbour
12km of Walking

 
The Akaroa Walk begins with a walk briefing in Christchurch where you meet fellow walkers and your friendly guide.
 
After a picturesque drive along the Summit Road you will arrive at Godley Head, which is the start of your 12km walk on day one. You will walk along the historical Godley Head Walkway and then onto the Crater Rim Walkway, on the way enjoying commanding views of Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch City.
You then make your descent into the port town of Lyttelton on the famous Bridle Path. Your walk follows the route of the first settlers to Christchurch who arrived in Lyttelton in 1850 and left from here to establish the city of Christchurch.
 
From Lyttelton you catch a ferry to your accommodation in Diamond Harbour.
 


Day 6 Diamond Harbour to Duvauchelle
16.5km of Walking


Today you will cover a distance of 16.5kms. The track leads you up to Mt Fitzgerald where you will experience unsurpassed panoramic views of the small, secluded bays of Banks Peninsula. From the summit you will follow undulating walkways to Mt Sinclair where the scenery continues to unfold below you. In particular, you will delight in seeing Port Levy, Pigeon Bay, Lake Forsyth and (in the distance) Kaitorete Spit. You will also get your first glimpse of Akaroa Harbour and the Onawe Peninsula.
 
Your accommodation this evening is a charming B&B in Duvauchelle, with grand views the length of Akaroa Harbour.
 


Day 7  Duvauchelle to Akaroa
approximately 10km of Walking

After a transfer from Duvauchelle, along the Summit Road above Akaroa Harbour we take a short walk amongst the totara forest on the Otepatotu Reserve track to warm up your legs. From the Otepatotu Reserve its on to the old Le Bons Bay access track by which we descend into Takamatua and then walk to your accommodation in Akaroa via Childrens Bay. You should have time to enjoy the sights of Akaroa township for the remainder of the afternoon.

Tonight you will gather and celebrate the completion of the walk at one of Akaroa’s best restaurants... where you will relax and reminisce about your successful trip across Banks Peninsula.
 



Day 8  Akaroa to Christchurch


This morning we transport you back to Christchurch.
Accommodation:
  • Walking
 
Hrs, KM



Book now for Next Season!

2018 / 2019


We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.


btn enquire
 
 
Akaroa broch-865-789

 


​​​



What's Included

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Walking Tours 7 to 12 days







Qualmark smallGold-423

 

Mesopotamia, Akaroa Walk
7 Days

 


Experience soaring landscapes, snow capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock covered tundras.



Accommodation

 
  • Nights 1 and 2: 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. Basic but comfortable high country accommodation in keeping with the location and feel of the tour.
  • Night 3: Private stand-alone studio chalets with ensuite
  • bathrooms, in a quiet rural setting
  • Night 4: City Hotel
  • Night 5:     Bed and breakfast accommodation with local hosts. Comfortable private rooms with shared bathrooms.      
  • Night 6:     B&B with private rooms and shared bathrooms.      
  • Night 7:    Accommodation in self-contained apartments with ensuite facilities.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee ( NZD$790) per person is payable  to cover this requirement for the duration of the walk.  
 
 
 

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 for nights3, 4, 5, 6, 7 but is available for purchase with your evening meal. We supply beer and wine on nights 1 and 2 at Mesopotamia Station.
Dinner is not included on night 4



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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.



New Zealand Walking Holiday
 




 



New Zealand Touring Holiday









 
 
 

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.

touring new zealand


tours of new zealand
                 








 
 

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
  • 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 and charger
  • 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
   


An experienced guide

 


All transport

 


Access and Concession fees

 


NZ Goods and Service Tax (GST)

 

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.



Book now for Next Season!

2018 / 2019


We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.


btn enquire
 
 
Akaroa broch-865-789

 


​​​



Photos

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Walking Tours 7 to 12 days










Book now for Next Season!

2018 / 2019


We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.


btn enquire
 
 
Akaroa broch-865-789

 


​​​



History

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Walking Tours 7 to 12 days








Qualmark smallGold-423

 

Mesopotamia, Akaroa Walk
7 Days





Experience soaring landscapes, snow capped mountain ranges and wide open tussock covered tundras.


 

Mesopotamia

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
Samuel Butler

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 Station Today

fallow2tMesopotamia 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.

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

merinoMesopotamia 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)


Banks Peninsula


Man has inhabited the Banks Peninsula area for about 1,000 years. The first people to come here were the seafarers in canoes from Polynesia, known as the Moa Hunters. Over time, several waves of Maori descended upon the area. In the late 16th Century the Moa Hunters were overcome by the southward migration of the Ngati Mamoe, who in turn were overcome by the Ngai Tahu.
When Captain James Cook sighted Banks Peninsula in 1770, he thought it was an island and named it after his botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who was on board his ship Endeavour at the time.
In August 1838, Jean L’Anglois, the Commander of a French whaling ship, purchased what he believed to be the entire Banks Peninsula.
 
On 29th January 1840, two weeks prior to French and German settlers even leaving France for Banks Peninsula, Captain William Hobson had arrived in New Zealand and begun gathering signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi.
 
By the time Captain Charles Lavaud and his fifty seven French and six German settlers arrived in New Zealand on August 17th 1840, British Sovereignty had been declared over the whole of New Zealand and a British delegation had already been to Akaroa to gather southern signatures. The British Union Jack was hoisted for the first time in Akaroa on August 11th 1840, just six days before the French and German settlers arrived!
 
Man has inhabited the Banks Peninsula area for about 1,000 years. The first people to come here were the seafarers in canoes from Polynesia, known as the Moa Hunters. Over time, several waves of Maori descended upon the area. In the late 16th Century the Moa Hunters were overcome by the southward migration of the Ngati Mamoe, who in turn were overcome by the Ngai Tahu
When Captain James Cook sighted Banks Peninsula in 1770, he thought it was an island and named it after his botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who was on board his ship Endeavour at the time.
In August 1838, Jean L’Anglois, the Commander of a French whaling ship, purchased what he believed to be the entire Banks Peninsula.
 
On 29th January 1840, two weeks prior to French and German settlers even leaving France for Banks Peninsula, Captain William Hobson had arrived in New Zealand and begun gathering signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi.
 
By the time Captain Charles Lavaud and his fifty seven French and six German settlers arrived in New Zealand on August 17th 1840, British Sovereignty had been declared over the whole of New Zealand and a British delegation had already been to Akaroa to gather southern signatures. The British Union Jack was hoisted for the first time in Akaroa on August 11th 1840, just six days before the French and German settlers arrived!
 
Flora and Fauna
On the Akaroa Walk, you will pass through a diverse variety of vegetation types, ranging from undisturbed totara forest to wide open tussock and grazing pastures.
 
The flora and fauna of the area has changed dramatically with about one third of the original plant life now gone... but there is still plenty of for you to savour over the 3 days on Banks Peninsula.

akaroa02
One Big Totara Tree
 
Industry
In the past the major industries on Banks Peninsula were forestry milling until all the land was cleared in the early 1900’s. Farming and Tourism are now the main concentrations of industry.
Fishing and fish farming are also currently undertaken
 
 



Book now for Next Season!

2018 / 2019


We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.


btn enquire
 
 
Akaroa broch-865-789

 


​​​