45 people found this article useful

Arthur’s Pass National Park – Guide for Backpackers

http://throughtramp.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/arthurs-pass.jpg

Live the “high” life in highest mountain pass.

In some parts of the world, it is not advised to leave your bags unattended due to thieves. In Arthur’s Pass National Park, the baggage handlers are the devious kea parrots! These alpine parrots will peel away anything they can get their beak around. A favourite amongst the parrots are car windscreen wipers and rubber seals. All in all, they are a highly entertaining bird, native to the Southern Alps.

The Southern Alps divides the east and west of the South Island, but Arthur’s Pass is the main connection between the two coasts. In fact, it is the highest pass in the Southern Alps. One way or another, backpackers try to find an excuse to travel through Arthur’s Pass to see the astonishing landscape, whether it is part of a road trip or onboard the TranzAlpine Express. Find out in our guide exactly why it is worth staying in Arthur’s Pass for a while.

Things you can’t miss in Arthur’s Pass National Park

  • Travel in New Zealand’s most scenic mountain pass by train or road.
  • Bike along the renowned Poulter Valley Track.
  • Ski and snowboard on the challenging slopes of Temple Basin ski field.
  • Take a short stroll to some incredible waterfalls.
  • Hike to the rugged peaks.
Nomads Hostels

https://www.yha.co.nz/assets/Uploads/_resampled/CroppedImage500375-YHANZ-Arthurs-Pass-aerial-1-2010.JPG

Arthur’s Pass village

For backpackers, Arthur’s Pass village is the perfect base for your time spent in this incredible national park. The village is nestled in the middle of the national park along the highway. The small settlement has a number of backpacker hostels and campsites. It is a good place to stop for a coffee when passing through on the scenic highway. You can also stop off here on the TranzAlpine train (see below).

http://www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz/assets/Uploads/TranzAlpine-2013-alongside-Waimakariri-river-jumbotron.jpg

The scenic route

Just try to take your eyes off the view from the window of the TranzAlpine Express. One of the world’s most scenic train journeys, the TranzAlpine winds through the mountain pass following the Waimakariri River. The train, operated by KiwiRail, is specially designed to encapsulate the view from different angles, such as huge windows, even some on the train ceiling. Not a single mountain peak can be missed! The TranzAlpine is the connection between the West Coast town of Greymouth and the city of Christchurch in the east. Check out more details about the train journey in our article: Train Network in New Zealand.

Those with a car can take the just as scenic highway through Arthur’s Pass. The road workers will appreciate you using this road. In 1986, the original road took less than a year to build while battling the ever falling snow. Then in 1998, work on the Otira Viaduct took 2 years. Workers fought through the elements to get the job done, with 1 fatality.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Y1aq848ml3Y/Tq36OusV_6I/AAAAAAAAAlM/fMHFBGjLHUo/s1600/DSC05057.JPG

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in Arthur’s Pass means traversing through some incredible mountainous scenery while taking on some challenges. Serious bikers should head for the Poulter Valley Track. Bike access is just between the Mt White Road and the Trust/Poulter Hut. The 13km journey is along a 4-wheel-drive (4WD) track and across river terraces. The difficulty ranges from grade 2 to grade 3.

For an easy peddle, just take the Mt White Road along tussock lands and the Waimakariri River.

Mountain biking is only permitted on formed roads and unsealed (gravel) roads within the national park. Plus, don’t be surprised if a kea parrot starts pecking at your bike into dismantlement.

http://www.templebasin.co.nz/alpha/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/about-temple.jpg

The ski field

With snowy mountains in winter, there’s powder to shred. Temple Basin is a ski field for the adventurous! The runs and lifts might not be as well developed as some other ski fields in New Zealand, but the off-piste is something else. Plus, the natural terrain is the perfect playground for freestylers.

When you are ready to pull away from Temple Basin, there are 5 more ski fields to choose from the in Selwyn – the Canterbury district that Arthur’s Pass is apart of. Check out the best ones in our TOP list: 10 Best Places to Ski and Snowboard in New Zealand.

http://www.shanemcdonald.me/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/IMG_1840-sm-625x795.jpg

Short walks in Arthur’s Pass

You don’t have to walk far in Arthur’s Pass to see some stunning features. By features we mean loads of waterfalls.

Millennium Walk

This 10min stroll is to a viewing platform overlooking the magical Avalanche Creek Falls. Start next to the visitor centre in Arthur’s Pass village.

Devils Punchbowl Falls

This huge waterfall tends to steel the limelight, as it is a popular spot for visitors. You can drive to the waterfall car park just after the Arthur’s Chalet. It is a 1 hour return through forest and over bridges until you get to a platform to take in the 112m falls.

Arthur’s Pass Walking Track

Guess what. More waterfalls! This 1h20min track is often described as a walk that captures the best of Arthur’s Pass National Park. The track takes you through varying alpine vegetation to Bridal Veil Falls and views. You can continue the walk to the Dobson Nature Walk then the summit of the pass for epic mountain views. Start this walk from the Devi’s Punchbowl car park.

http://www.deanmyerson.org/files/photo%20archive/foreign/nz2009/nz09%20026.jpg

Day walks

We could easily spend a whole day exploring Arthur’s Pass with views of jagged mountain peaks. The longer walks in this national park tend to be more adventurous by involving a bit of clambering and steep climbs.

Avalanche Peak

As the only well-signed walk to a summit and easy to access from the Arthur’s Pass village, Avalanche Peak is a popular day walk. Those who take the 1100m climb are rewarded with the view of miles of mountains. You’ll notice Crow Glacier and Mt Rolleston. There are two routes to the summit, Scotts Track and the Avalanche Peak Track. Scotts Track captures the best scenery along the way. The walk is 6-8 hours return.

The remaining walks are signed up to where the forest ends, then you are on your own to reach the mountain peaks. It is only recommended to climb to the summits in good weather conditions. Otherwise, these walks provide excellent bush walks up the mountain. It’s best to have a some alpine hiking experience before you attempt to navigate to the summits.

Mt Aiken

Start at the Devil’s Punchbowl car park. The Mt Aiken detours about 15 minutes up the Devil’s Punchbowl Track. The steep climb goes through forest until the forest comes to an end. This takes 3-4 hours to return.

Mt Bealey

Zigzag through the forest to reach the ridge you need to take to climb get to Mt Bealey. The 3-4 hour return trip starts from a car park on the south side of Rough Creek.

If you have more time in Arthur’s Pass National Park…

  • Go fishing in the high-country lakes and rivers. In particular, Lakes Pearson and Lyndon.
  • Listen to the great spotted kiwi calls. In winter, you can sometimes hear them in the village.
  • Put your mountaineering skills to the test from climbing low hills to glaciated peaks.
  • Armed with a hunting permit (and a gun), go hunting for deer, pigs and chamois.
TEACHinASIA
Was this article useful? Useful Useless

Where to stay in Arthur’s Pass National Park?

Working Holiday Insurance

Most Popular Videos

Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
Pexels
Eating Out

Cheap Eats in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui

WHERE TO GET A CHEAP MEAL IN Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. The [...]

BackpackerGuide.NZ
South Island Hostels

6 Best Backpacker Hostels in Dunedin

Budget accommodation in architectural Dunedin. With gothic architectural marvels around every corner, [...]

Working Holiday Insurance
Hot on Backpacker Guide
South Island Regions
http://1hdwallpapers.com/wallpapers/beautiful_lake_tekapo.jpg

Lake Tekapo – Guide for Backpackers

Stunningly Scenic in the day and Starry at night. Part of the […]

Biking
http://imgur.com/Qo4Md6d

City Cycling Rules in New Zealand

Don’t be a psychopath, use the cycle path! Ahh, the quiet New […]

Environment

10 Ways to Protect New Zealand’s Forests

Tree hugging in New Zealand. You’ll hear the phrase “bush walk” a […]

We're on youtube!
Join us on YouTube!

This year we spend 365 DAYS tackling 365 ACTIVITIES all across New Zealand and posting new videos every day!

Watch the adventure!