Te Araroa Trail – Forest Creek Track to Camp Stream Hut
I had a great night sleep and woke up bright and breezy at 6am. We got going at 7.30a m and immediately had a stream crossing – wet feet again! We launched into a 650m climb straight away up to the Bullock Bow Saddle, which took 1.5 hrs to climb up to 1682m elevation. On the way up we saw a ‘tahr’. This is a large Himalayan goat-like animal which lives in the New Zealand mountains. It was on the ridge line for some time checking us out, and ran away when we approached.
Bullock Bow Saddle
Over the saddle there were spectacular views over the Two Thumbs and Sinclair mountain ranges, and back to the Forest Creek river valley. We had a 20 minute break before carrying on down a nice easy 4-wheel drive track to meet Te Araroa again. Yesterday/today’s detour has been amazing!! I would highly recommend it.
When we joined the trail again we had another couple of Kms before we got to the lovely 8-bed Royal hut. Apparently, Prince Charles and Princess Anne stayed here as children, hence the name – I expect they got choppered in, rather than walking the two thumbs track ??. We had a short break and chatted to the two NOBO Kiwi boys having a rest day there.
Soon after we made our way slowly up to Stag Saddle, which is the highest point on Te Araroa trail at 1925m elevation. We followed Bush Stream – the river which had thwarted us yesterday – although now we were at its source so it was easily crossable. We made good time climbing up and got to the saddle around 1 pm.
We had a break and marveled at the views again. Lake Tekapo in front of us was so blue! It was amazing to be able to see my finish line way down at the other end of the lake! Instead of following the TA trail down the river valley down to the gorgeous 6-bed Camp Stream hut, we went off to the right and walked up, over and along the ridge line instead. It was a bit breezy on the top but we enjoyed our lunch with the amazing views of Lake Tekapo.
Camp Stream Hut
We followed the superb, easy ridge track all the way down to a 4-wheel-drive track, which took us straight to Camp Stream hut – a private hut built in 1898. It is managed by the Mackenzie Alpine Trust – if you can a donation of $10 is recommended. We arrived at around 5 pm. Marcus (Kiwi) was already there and had made a fire in the little stove. Shortly afterward we were joined by Laura, who I’d first met back at Merrivale hut about a month ago! It was so great to meet up again! Thankfully, no one else arrived. It was very snug. We all had dinner, threw another log on the stove and went tobed early.