Arthur's Pass National Park
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 and the classic 6-8hr return, 1100m vertical climb of Avalanche Peak.
Drop into the Visitor Centre for up-to-date track and weather information.