A section of record breaking for us; our longest day on the trail, our highest summit and the oldest hut. Plus our first ever wallaby sighting!
We had a great stay at the Mesopotamia Station in an old shearers cottage. Eggs for breakfast and a hot shower – we were rejuvenated and ready to go. The track follows an old mustering route up the valley (with plenty more river crossings to everyone’s delight) and then up in to the tussocks and alpine. It was great to be climbing mountains again!
There were a few saddles to climb and descend on our way over to Stone hut. We loved running down the scree slopes like big kids! The tussock was less fun, as there was no real path. So we just had to batter our way through shoulder high grasses, whilst negotiating the holes and spikey plants!
The day of the big climb! We had about 1000m elevation from the hut up to Stag saddle. Set off through very long, wet grassland and after about 10 minutes we were all drenched, despite the fact it wasn’t raining. Even my hair was wet! Things improved as we climbed higher. The tussocks became shorter, before we were eventually out of the grass altogether and on the rocks. A little celebratory dance at the top – 1925m, Te Araroa’s highest point!
From there it was a spectacular path along the ridgeline. Awesome views of Lake Tekapo and snowy mountains in the background = very happy hikers. We rocked up at Camp Stream hut which was built in 1898 and decided we’d be better off sleeping in our tent!
It was a short walk up and across Roundhill ski field to finish the Two Thumbs Range. Had to rely on the gps to keep us on trail as we couldn’t see the orange markers through the fog. We did however see a wallaby! Unfortunately later that day we also saw two wallaby hunters…
Once down on the road it was just a long, long, long walk along the gravel road to reach Tekapo. Turns out we did 41.5km! Well and truly earned our beer today.
Day 4 & 5
We split up the long gravel road section with a couple of much needed days off in Tekapo with Nicki and Mat. Then over to Twizel for us! It took us two days to walk which was all along gravel road again… 73km in total! So some big old days on the trail again for us. Although this section wasn’t that special to walk, the camp spot we found on lake pukaki was phenomenal! Swam in the icy glacial waters overlooking Mt Cook, you can’t get much more perfect than that!