Arthur’s Pass national park is an essential part of your trip through the South Island. It is the route to take if you are traveling from Canterbury to the West Coast and is home to the Arthur’s Pass village, one of the highest settlements in the country. The road to the village is an engineering masterpiece that involves viaducts, bridges, rock shelters, and waterfalls redirected into chutes. It might have been hard to make, but it has resulted in a stunning experience.
Although the road is spectacular by itself, you should also get out of the car and prepare yourself for a nice walk. The village is a starting point for many amazing walks that give you the best views on, amongst other beautiful sites, the mountains and waterfalls. From there you can go on several long and short walks ranged in every level of difficulty. Here is our top 3:
The Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall Track
This spectacular waterfall can be seen from the main road, but there is a great option to walk to the base. The track takes you to the waterfall via footbridges and 240 zigzagging steps up through the forest. It will take you around an hour return to enjoy the beautiful view. Time well spent we can tell you.
The Arthur’s Pass Walking Track
This might sound as the obvious choice, and maybe it is. However, this is a great option to see what Arthur’s pass has to offer. This walk takes you past diverse alpine vegetation, waterfalls, wetlands and rich history, all while you are enjoying stunning views of the mountains. It is an all-in-one experience and you can do a return in about 3 hours. It’s a one-way track and you will take the same route back, but on the way back you will see it from the other side ;). The track starts at the Arthur’s pass village and lets you view the Dobson memorial at Arthur’s Pass summit. It is a relatively steady walk with a gentle gradient. This makes it an easy walk for most travelers.
The Avalanche Peak Track
This Track is for the more experienced travelers. In order to complete this walk, you need to be well-equiped and experienced. It is a beautiful walk, but not for unexperienced travelers that cannot assess the conditions and find a safe path through avalanche terrain. If you are a well-experienced traveler, however, you are going to love this walk.
If you want to make it all the way to the summit, you have to complete the Avalanche Peak track as well as the Avalanche peak route. The track, that leads to the bushline, is a 90-minute track that climbs through the mountain beech on the south side of the Avalanche Creek. When you reach the bushline, the track emerges to give good views down the Bealey valley to Cora Lynn Station, Black Range, and Mount Bealey.
If you are capable enough and want to continue beyond the bushline, you can continue your way on the Avalanche Peak route. On the route, you are merely guided by yellow markers all the way to the summit. It will take you approximately two hours to get to the top. From the top, you get a stunning view of the waterfall and the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps.
So this is our top 3 of walks. Have you been to Arthur’s pass? Do you agree with us? Let us know!