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Arthur's Pass National Park

New Zealand: Arthurs Pass

Māori had long been using this pass to cross over the Southern Alps, but when Arthur Dobson ‘discovered’ it in 1864, it was soon to provide a vital road link between Christchurch and the West Coast goldfields. A rail link was completed in 1923 so that coal and timber could be moved over the mountains and trains still use that link. The TranzAlpine scenic train crosses between Christchurch and Greymouth.

Top walks at the South Island's main divide

These days, most people who stop at Arthur’s Pass come from Christchurch (148kms) or Greymouth (93km) by car to go hiking in Arthur’s Pass National Park. There are good short walks for families; short walks; half-day walks, right up to the classic, a 6-8hr return, 1100m vertical climb of Avalanche Peak.

Drop into the Visitor Centre for up-to-date track and weather information.

Avalanche Peak

1100m ascent for glorious views (6-8hrs)

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by Eli Duke