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”.
4 days / 3 nights
Above average level of fitness. Walk 20kms, Bike 45kms. Formed tracks and roads with average to steep inclines at times.
Another date in mind?We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Christchurch to Mesopotamia
High Country Farm Cottage
After meeting your fellow walkers and your guide, you depart Christchurch and enjoy a scenic drive across the Canterbury Plains to Mesopotamia High Country Station, situated at the headwaters of the mighty Rangitata River. 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.
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.
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 novel “Erewhon”.
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.
Mesopotamia to Peel Forest to Mt Somers
Comfortable Country Lodge
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.
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.
Mt Somers to Hakatere to 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.
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.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the walk.
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. All meals are included in your tour cost except your evening meal on night Five. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
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.
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.
This will be given to you at the start of your tour.
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.
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.