Arthur's Pass National Park

Between Greymouth and Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island is the National Park of Arthur’s Pass. The park is famous for its spectacular alpine scenery, and its almost as impressive feats of civil engineering, including the mighty Otira Viaduct and the scenic TranzAlpine railway. Chiselled mountains aside, the park is most known for the dense rainforest on its western side, as well as the popular mountain biking tracks in the east.

Arthur's Pass National Park

You can choose to drive into the park, which will show you first hand the intimidating peaks of Arthur’s Pass, as well as the Otira Viaduct and its famous panoramic lookout point. Alternatively, take the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch, on what is widely regarded as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, to get a broader view of the park’s scenery and the surrounding landscape. Either way,here are a few things not to miss when in Arthur’s Pass...

Hiking

7.The famous Kea at Avalanche Peak, Arthur’s Pass

There is a superb variety of walking tracks and trails within Arthur’s Pass, and many of them begin at the visitor centre in the village. Some of the stunning natural sights easily reachable with a short walk include The Devil's Punchbowl Falls, Avalanche Creek and the incredible mountain views from the Arthur’s Pass walking track. There are also several full day walks, such as Avalanche Peak, Mt Aicken and Mt Bealey. With any luck you will come across Arthur’s Pass’ most famous inhabitant, the Kea, a notoriously mischievous alpine parrot.

 

Skiing



Arthur’s Pass National Park is great for snow sports enthusiasts, and the Temple Basin Ski Area is enjoying a growing reputation as an outstanding resort that caters for all abilities. The ski field is found on the slopes of Mount Temple, and each winter people flock from all over the world to get a piece of the action. A week in Temple Basin may well compel you to quit your job and take up the life of a ski fanatic, but it’s a risk you have to take.  

Mountaineering and Mountain Biking

Needless to say, there is a wealth of climbing and mountaineering opportunities within the Arthur's Pass' more rugged areas. Whether you prefer to take on the classic climbing routes, or just find your own challenges, you won't leave disappointed. There are also some specialised routes for ice climbers if you’re feeling a little braver.

A couple of tracks within the park allow mountain bikes, meaning that you can speed through the scenery with the wind in your hair. The Mt White Road is recommended for beginners, and offers great views of the Waimakariri River. More difficult is the track in Poulter Valley, which skirts along the eastern edges of the park.