Canterbury

Canterbury

Te Araroa sets out on an historic crossing of the Main Divide via the Harper Pass Track. East of the Alps travel is straight-forward through grassy cattle flats, beech forest and past a spring-fed hot pool that offers a soak in splendid isolation. The trail crosses the Divide at Harper Pass and descends west. It’s more rugged and wet here, the forest changes and there are major rivers to negotiate. The diversion west is brief as Te Araroa bounces east again over Goat Pass on a route renowned as the mountain running section of the Coast to Coast Race. South of Arthur’s Pass the track passes through Craigieburn Forest Park to the High Country - haunt of the Kiwi Southern Man, a mythologised figure on horseback with loyal dogs, and skilled at remote mustering. Te Araroa secured passage through hundreds of kilometres of the working merino stations in Canterbury, also former stations, bought outright by the Crown and with an interesting but disconnected network of musterers’ huts. Most were in use right up until the time Te Araroa secured its through route. Further south, the large and braided Rakaia and Rangitata rivers pose a natural barrier to Te Araroa's trampers. Te Araroa Trust has declared these rivers safety zones that do not form part of the trail proper, and would not normally be crossed on foot. Through-trampers must find their own way across or around by mechanical means or otherwise and to do so is not regarded as compromising the integrity of the tramp.
Te Araroa continues through the vast Mackenzie Basin. The lakes here are turquoise, the mountain views scintillating. The snow melt from the Alps is channeled south across this dry basin to power a series of stepped hydroelectricity stations. Te Araroa turns its head to catch the picturebook views of Mt Cook as the trail passes along the shore of Lake Pukaki, then enters the town of Twizel. Beyond the town the trail follows another canal, the Ohau lake shore, and then climbs steeply over the Ohau Range.

 
 

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Canterbury Region Trail Notes (200KB)
  Canterbury Region Maps (68MB - large file)

  

   

 

Note: Map is indicative only