"Mountains, keas, waterfalls." Top 5 Page for this destination Arthur's Pass National Park by allikat

Arthur's Pass National Park Travel Guide: 86 reviews and 317 photos

Arthurs Pass National Park. The guide books will tell you that within its 950 square kilometers are the majestic peaks of Murchieson, Rolleston and several others soaring above 2000 meters. They will tell you how the TranzAlpine railway follows an old Maori trading route rediscovered by a certain young Arthur Dobson in 1864 when gold was the new in thing over on the West Coast (when the the Maoris followed the route they had gone in search of their own treasure - pounamu - greenstone or jade, ).
So with the very briefest of facts and figures out of the way, what can I tell you about Arthurs Pass?

Well, I imagine that you will probably see it en route from Christchurch to the West Coast, or vice versa. You can bypass Christchurch and go via the dramatic Rakaia Gorge, but unless you have a 4 wheel drive and a sense of adventure, I would stick to the main route. If you have time on your side and can stick around for anything longer than a few hours - do. There so much to see here in the way of natural beauty. But please do be aware that if you are ill prepared the mountains beauty can be menacing. Some poor unfortunate lost soul will make the headlines from this region every year.
You will probably nip into the visitors centre for at least a brief look around, and if so you will be rewarded with some local history and a better awareness of what the area has to offer.

With luck, you will take the remnant of the old road, at Deaths Corner, and go look over the pass from the viaduct look out point. The road you see today - the Otira Viaduct - is a fairly recent replacement for the narrow winding road that barely managed to cling to the edge of the mountain through the gorge.
Whilst here, you will likely come across at least a couple of keas - friendly and inquisitive native alpine parrots with a fondness for rubber. If you have been told to keep them away from your windscreen wipers and such, then I confess this is good advice. But do spend a little time watching these funny, intelligent birds before continuing on to explore more of the area.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Scenic, dramatic, quite possibly wet, with a couple of cheeky parrots.
  • Last visit to Arthur's Pass National Park: May 2006
  • Intro Updated Jun 23, 2007
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Reviews (8)

Comments (11)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2009 at 2:15 PM

    I had an Australian relative who told me that his problem with spoonerism caused a few embarrassments when travelling around this area! Nice page and nice pics - refreshing some memories thanks!

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    Its absolutely NO problem. Promise. If you want an Orange (or something else), let me kow.

  • Aug 20, 2007 at 2:06 PM

    gidday mate

  • alucas's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2007 at 5:31 AM

    Looks very different in colour !

  • Anchovy56's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2006 at 7:35 PM

    I was going to say something clever until I say the "red" barn...Lovely

  • Ekahau's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2006 at 1:52 PM

    happy birthday enjoyed the ride on Cobb & Co via horse-drawn coach service between Christchurch and Greymouth thanks

  • Tugboatguy's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2006 at 1:09 AM

    Hi Allison, what rugged beauty, isolation and yet compellingly captivating scenery. Seems one can't get away from modern aspects of life-an internet connection in the rocks & crags! Gr8t photos & text, as always you have a winner here! Doug

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2006 at 9:55 PM

    Great information... looks like I will have to visit this on my trip next month!!

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2006 at 2:59 AM

    i feel a little annoyed that i never really had enough time to explore this area in more detail

  • Darby2's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2006 at 3:06 PM

    The Otira Viaduct looks much like the one they're building near Golden, B.C. The first support pillar is nearly finished and it's nearly 150' high. Luv the Keas!!!


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