Arthur's Pass National Park - Christchurch
Arthur's Pass National Park is a tramper's paradise, with dozens of different tracks which cater for sedate strollers right through to serious week-long expeditioners.
Arthur's Pass National Park is Best For
Directions to Arthur's Pass National Park
Over 1,000 square kilometres of rainforest, gorges, tracks, raging rivers and serene valleys, at the heart of the Southern Alps. Come to ski, tramp, paddle or just marvel at the wonder of nature.
Forming a natural border between the West Coast and Canterbury in the South Island, Arthur's Pass National Park is a tramper's paradise, with dozens of different tracks which cater for sedate strollers right through to serious week-long expeditioners. This area has some of the best-equipped overnight huts and hostels, high up in the most unlikely of places, ensuring that as much of the park as possible is accessible to those eager to explore it. Serious mountaineers are spoiled for choice about which rockface to climb, while novices can get a taste for this high life by attempting a trip up the friendly Mount Rolleston. Skiers are well catered for, with ski fields in Broken River and Temple Basin, and mountain bikers get their own tracks on which to explore the Poulter Valley.
Families and leisure visitors will appreciate the plethora of short, easy walks around Arthur's Pass village, which is easily accessible from SH-73, and serves as the service HQ of the national park as a whole. Here, you'll find a comprehensive visitor centre, campsites, motels, hotels and private lodgings, as well as plenty of places to eat and drink.
Twitchers will want to investigate the Kiwi Ranger Programme, in Arthur's Pass village, where they can be proactive in helping to conserve the populations of kiwi, blue ducks and kea, as well as take time out to wander the myriad canopied forest walks in the area. For two weeks after Christmas, Arthur's Pass organises a range of activities for young and old, including kiwi tracking, children's attractions, lectures, guided walks and art exhibitions, and this is understandably a popular time to come, so do book ahead for accommodation. There are train stations in Arthur's Pass and Otira, where you can see (or hop onboard) the famous TranzAlpine Express, which snakes through this national park, connecting Greymouth to Christchurch.
Arthur's Pass National Park in many ways marks the geological and meteorological and divide between the South Island's east and west coasts. The glacial, mountainous, harsh and unflinching landscape of the park's western side contrasts sharply with the more temperate, navigable, explorable forests and glades of the eastern side, so choose which one best suits the activities you're after, before you go.