Walking the Lake Tekapo High Country Trek

The Tekapo High Country Trek is a 3-day guided alpine hike through open tussock country above Lake Tekapo, with panoramic views of the Southern Alps and the Mackenzie Basin. The area is famed for its exceptionally clear skies and intense light, highlighting the turquoise-blue glacial lakes, golden grasses, and white snow-capped peaks.

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Start: 10am from Lake Tekapo township we drive along the lake shore to a typical high country sheep station. Three hours' walking with a climb of 550m/1805ft 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 pipit. 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 gain height the splendour of the Southern Alps unfolds with the East Face of Mount Cook dominating the skyline. 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. Return to Rex Simpson Hut to be well fed and entertained by your guide. 6-8 hours walking.


We visit an old musterer’s 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. Finish approximately 1pm in Lake Tekapo.


Who is the Lake Tekapo Trek suitable for?

The young and the old (who no longer want to carry heavy packs) and everybody who wants an active holiday. You should consult with us first if you have anybody in your group younger than 10 and older than 70. Fitness is more important than age! To climb a peak over 2000m is both challenging and rewarding. If you enjoy challenges and a good physical workout in a scenic environment, then this trek is for you. If you appreciate getting away from where everybody else is going, then this is definitely the place to go – it is rare to encounter any other people outside your own group.

Fitness Prerequisites

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, as long as you are fit and walking 6-8 hours in a day would pose no problems. Your pack will contain just your clothing and a few items of fresh food to be carried to the hut on Day 1. Non-perishable food and sleeping bags are at the hut.