New Zealand

Arthur's Pass National Park

Where is it?

The national park is situated in the Southern Alps mountain range on the South Island of New Zealand. It sits between the regions of Canterbury and the West Coast.

Arthur's Pass is also the name of the main township in the park and the DOC visitor center can be found here. The township is situated on State Highway 73, which runs through the park and is about a two hour drive from Christchurch to the east.

Facts about the Arthur's Pass National Park

As the park straddles the Southern Alps, this 'divide' has ensured that the east and west parts of the park are vastly different. To the west lies stunning rainforest with its ferns and mosses. However to the east mountain beech dominates the forests. In the centre, above the bushline lie stunning alpine meadows.

Possibly the most often seen bird in the park is the kea, an alpine parrot, famous for its nosy nature. Other birds in the park include the bellbird, fantail and the endangered great spotted kiwi.

The pass was first used by Maori to transport greenstone (pounamu) between the West Coast and Canterbury. Maori told Europeans explorers the location of the pass and once gold had been discovered on the West Coast a road through the pass was built in less than a year.

To do

There are numerous tramping opportunities in the park, from a gentle one hour walk to the impressive Devils Punchbowl Waterfall to multi day tramps such as the popular Crow Hut tramp, climbing up Avalanche Peak.

Mountaineering is also very popular in the park. Mt. Rolleston, near Arthur's Pass is a good climb for beginners.

Mountain biking is permitted in the park on formed roads only. One of the more popular routes is along Mt. White Road which follows the mighty Waimakariri River.

Where to stay?

Arthur's Pass village in the centre of the park has a number of accommodation opportunities ranging from backpackers to motels. There is also a DOC camping ground in the village.

Tramps in the Arthur's Pass NP

Crow Hut - two day tramp, over Avalanche Peak

Goat Pass Hut - two day tramp along the famous route used by the annual Coast to Coast race

There are many other tramping opportunities in the park, it really is a tramper's paradise!

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