Breadcrumb
Destination view

Arthurs Pass National Park

Arthur’s Pass National park straddles the Southern Alps and because of this, offers a landscape of contrast. The Western regions of the park benefit from the high rainfall that drops from the prevailing winds as it ascends the main divide, creating lush rainforests. The east is much drier and dominated by beech forest.  Between the two lies the mountainous areas of the Southern Alps with home to kea and snow tussock.

As well as the natural wonders of the park there is a long history of human presence, beginning with early Maori who used the passes to travel between the east and west coasts to trade pounamu. In 1864 Arthur Dobson surveyed the area with a view to creating a reliable route and despite his advice that it was 'almost impossible' a large number of men carved a rudimentary road through the Southern Alps - completing it in 1866. The recent Otira Viaduct was a major engineering achievement and greatly minimizes the hazards of travelling this way. The West Coast gold fields were the driver for the creation of the road and also led to Arthur’s Pass village being developed.

The village still exists and provides amenities including a store, cafes, restaurants and the Department of Conservation visitor center.  There are a number of ways to explore the National Park, including hiking, caving and bird-watching. Visit the DOC visitor center, to be advised on the most suitable walks for your ability and the weather conditions.  Alternatively if you are staying at Grasmere Lodge or Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass you are right on the park’s doorstep.

From Christchurch or Greymouth catch the TranzAlpine scenic train for stunning Arthur’s Pass vistas.

Walks in Arthurs Pass National Park

Walks in Arthurs Pass National Park

Within the Arthur's Pass there are many short walks to suit all ages and abilities. Located in the Arthur's Pass Village is a Department of Conservation information centre where you can get updates on track conditions and track suitability as well as learning about the natural history of the area and its people.

Listed below are a selection of short walks.

1. Millennium Walk - Time: 10 minutes return
2. Devils Punchbowl Waterfall Walk - Time: One hour return
3. Arthur's Pass Walking Track - Time: One hour 20 minutes (one way)
4. Dobson Nature Walk - Time: 30 minutes return
5. Old Coach Road Walk - Time: 30 minutes return
6. Cockayne Nature Walk - Time: 30 minutes return

New Zealand touring ideas

A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip.  After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand allows you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, GPS and APP guidance plus local support mean you are in safe hands. See self drive ideas here

If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour or a private guided tour might be for you. Our range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. These tours limit the number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See our small group tours here. 

A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. all our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide. Just contact us to discuss your needs.

All North Island touring ideas - explore the diverse North Island with these itinerary suggestions. See here

All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See here

All Nationwide touring ideas - see the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas. See here

Read our blogs on New Zealand travel