- Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
- Mesopotamia Station
on Rangitata Gorge Road
Passing through the beautiful high country of Canterbury and finishing at the picture perfect Lake Tekapo with its startlingly turquoise waters, the section of the Te Araroa Trail that passes through Mesopotamia Station is a highlight.
The terrain up Bush Stream Track towards Crooked Spur Hut is rather slow-going, since the trail is made up of loose rock.
The final few kms are rough with infrequent trail markers and a big climb to get around a gorged section.
The track then rejoins Bush Stream before climbing steeply up Crooked Spur.
Crooked Spur Hut is an old shepherd's hut in relatively good condition. It has bags of charm, and had a commanding view over the valley below.
The track climbs steadily again from Crooked Spur Hut, up to a saddle, before slowly edging its way down back towards Bush Stream. The trail markers are few and far between but, before long, Stone Hut comes into view. Make your way down to it over the tussock-covered hills.
The track joins Bush Stream again. Follow it upstream, crossing and re-crossing the stream at various points. The track isn't difficult and, after two hours, Royal Hut comes into view.
The climb to Stag Saddle is a steep grunt but rewards with stunning views of Lake Tekapo below and the surrounding mountains. Sidle across the rocky slopes to Snake Ridge to begin the descent to the lake.
With the lake below and majestic Southern Alps at its head, it's a fitting finale to a great tramp.