Hiking along "Snake Ridge"
Sunset over Rex Simpson Hut (Photo: K. Bowie)
A peaceful and remote retreat above Lake Tekapo
Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman (Photo: M. Gardner)
North-west clouds (Photo: K. Bowie)
Descending to Mt. Gerald Stream (Photo: K. Bowie)
Marshland on Mt. Gerald (Photo: K. Bowie)
Tekapo High Country Hike
Guided overnight alpine hikes in the Two Thumb Range, Lake Tekapo
Hike above worry level in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Be inspired by the magic light of the Mackenzie High Country across golden tussock, snow-capped peaks and the turquoise of Lake Tekapo. Climb a 2070m peak and return to a cosy mountain hut to savour the sun setting behind mountain silhouettes and a star-studded sky - one of the clearest and darkest skies in the southern hemisphere.
"The peace, solitude, remoteness, wide open spaces and clear mountain air all conspire to soothe and revive city-weary souls." - A. Brown, Auckland. More client comments.
The Tekapo High Country Hike is in the Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park. It is available in 2 and 3 day options and also as a guided snowshoeing trip in winter. It is based from the fully stocked Rex Simpson hut, so there is no need to carry in non-perishable food and sleeping bags, this means pack weight is kept to a pleasent minimum.
The area encompasses the spectacular landscapes of ice-steepened mountains and broad glaciated valleys of the Two Thumb Range. Views of Mount Cook and surrounding peaks are spectacular from Snake Ridge on your way up to a 2070m peak on the second day. If you are new to hiking, then this is an ideal introduction, especially for familiy groups.
This is the least strenuous trek we offer. For a more difficult option, take a look at our Aoraki Mount Cook Trek.
|Participants||1.5 days||2.5 days|
|returning client discount (on individual bookings), if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Group Booking Discounts (NZ$ per person)|
|Group booking of 3|
|Group booking of 4-5|
|Group booking of 6+|
- Guide and Department of Conservation licence fees
- Heated PRIVATE hut accommodation
- Local accommodation for any nights required during the trip
- Free transport (Tekapo - Mt. Gerald return)
- ALL meals (including snacks & energy bars) for the duration of the trip
- ALL trekking equipment
Meals and accommodation before/after the trip are NOT included.
+Minimum & Maximum Numbers
A minimum number of 2 participants is required to run this trip. If you end up being the only person booked on the trip, you will be offered the choice of:
- paying an additional fee of NZ for 2 days, or NZ for 3 days
- rescheduling to another trip/date
- a full refund
The maximum number of participants per guide is 6. The maximum group size is 12, with 2 guides.
Take advantage of our group booking discounts and get a group of family and friends together. The amount of discount you will be eligible for will depend on the group size - the more people you book, the more your discount will be! If our scheduled dates don't suit your group's travel plans, please contact us as we can reschedule a trip to suit (subject to guide availability).
Please note that group bookings are not private bookings - if you wish to keep your group closed (ie. you have a private guide just for your group), a surcharge will apply. Alterntatively you can book a group of 6 or 12 (which will ensure there are no others in your group).
Green : Minimum reached - guaranteed departure.
Orange : Only 4 or fewer places available.
Red : No availability.
Venue: Rex Simpson Hut
↑ Rex Simpson Hut is well situated to make the most of the stunning views over Lake Tekapo.
Located in a beautiful setting, with great views of the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo. A fantastic location for some star gazing - the Mackenzie District is renowned for the clarity of its sky and freedom from light pollution, which is why the area was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
Rex Simpson Hut is our base for the Tekapo High Country Hike in Summer and Alpine Ski Touring, Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing and Instruction Courses during the winter.
The hut consists of three rooms, sleeping 13 participants and 2 guides in total. There are no showers, but warm water and a basin can be provided for washing or you can find a private spot somewhere along the alpine stream. The toilet is a traditional longdrop loo with a view!
The hut is fully equipped with pot belly stove, firewood, gas, solar lighting and nonperishable food. Sleeping bags, pillows and mattresses are at the hut; liners and pillow cases are provided each trip.
→ More Rex Simpson Hut photos.
↑ Aerial photo of Rex Simpson Hut above Lake Tekapo.
Trekking Fitness & Experience
Previous experience & agility
Ideally you should have previous tramping or hiking experience, because much of the trek is across untracked terrain and you need to be sure-footed. However, if you are relatively new to tramping, then this is an ideal introduction, especially for families.
Fitness & endurance
You need to be fit and able to walk 5-8 hours in a day without problems.
Your pack will contain just your clothing and a few items of fresh food to be carried to the hut on Day 1. Nonperishable food and sleeping bags are at the hut.
2 DAYS: starts at 1pm on Day 1 and finishes around 5pm on Day 2.
3 DAYS: starts at 10am on Day 1 and finishes around 1pm on Day 3.
We recommend the 3 day option in most cases, as the second day of the 2 day option is long; however it is a good option for fit hikers on a tight schedule (most buses arrive in Tekapo from Christchurch between 12pm and 1pm).
Meet at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo at the above start time for a gear check.
From Lake Tekapo township we drive along the lakeshore to a typical high country sheep station. Three hours' hike with a climb of 550m/1805ft (about 7km) brings us to the cosy Rex Simpson Hut, at 1300m/4265ft. The only sounds to be heard are the skylarks singing, or the chirp of an occasional pippit. This peacefulness is one of the first powerful impressions, giving a real sense of isolation and remoteness. The views over Lake Tekapo are expansive. Evening entertainment regularly comes in the form of an inspiring sunset behind the alps and/or spectacularly clear displays of our Southern Hemisphere stars.
We trek along a 6 kilometre-long ridge-top, nicknamed "Snake Ridge", that was formed by ice-age glaciation, and ascend Beuzenberg Peak (2073m/6800ft). The terrain is untracked with a moderate gradient.
As we hike higher the splendour of the Southern Alps unfolds with the East Face of Mount Cook dominating the western skyline. To the northeast Braun-Elwert Peak, named after Alpine Recreation's founder, watches our progress up Snake Ridge.
Unique alpine scree plants and maybe an alpine weta can be spotted by the observant. Early summer the tussock will be interspersed with mountain daisies (Celmisia Lyallii). In late summer the red berries of Little Mountain Heath (Pentachondra Pumila) dot the ground, along with white and pink snowberries.
Walk back down to Rex Simpson Hut to be well fed and entertained by your guide (6-8 hours walking, 770m in altitude to ascend and descend).
Those on the 2 day option will have a long day, returning to Lake Tekapo the same day (8-9 hours walking, with an additional 550m to descend after returning to the hut).
There is an option to trek to an old musterers' hut before walking back down through the farm and returning to Lake Tekapo. The hut door carries part of a dog collar, dated 1898, and the interior could be reminiscent of Scott’s hut in Antarctica. (About 8km distance, 3-4 hours hiking).
Finish about 1pm in Lake Tekapo. After your return to Lake Tekapo we recommend a scenic flight with Air Safaris over the Southern Alps (not included in price): www.airsafaris.co.nz.
All of your equipment will be checked during the gear check at our office at the start of your trip. We can provide boots, trekking poles, outdoor clothing and packs at no extra cost if necessary, please see the equipment list for further details. Any equipment you need to borrow from us will be issued by your guide.