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