Arthur’s Pass attracts tourists with its treasure trove of manmade and natural bounties, and rightfully so. As you head for Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch, you come upon the delightful terrains of Castle Hill—a surreal world committed to limestone formations. Here, the landscapes are quite similar to ancient crumbling castles and remind you of the stunning backdrops of the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Read on for the other attractions in and around the region,”must visit” indeed!
Arthur’s Pass Visitor Centre
Managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), this centre heralds you to the scenic precincts of Arthur’s Pass National Park. Stop awhile and get information on trails and the latest weather information or view excellent artifact like an ancient stagecoach and the engineering skills behind Otira Tunnel .You also make to make this pit stop to sign yourself in and advise the park staff of your hiking plans in the back country.
Avalanche Peak Track
Located in Arthur’s Pass National Park, this most popular six to eight day hike makes you climb 1100 meters to the summit and rewards with jaw dropping vistas of Mount Rolleston, Black Range and Crow Glacier. To reach the bridge over Avalanche creek, you may have to pull yourself up over craggy rocks, maneuver your way through snowy pockets or hold tree roots to maintain your balance—this trek is not easy. (Image by :@Dee)
Scott’s Track—starting from the vicinity of Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, this route also takes you to the dominating crown of Avalanche Peak. Not as steep as the other trails, it provides mesmerizing views of Mount Rolleston, Devil’s Punchbowl and Crow Glacier. In general hikers prefer to trek up the easier Scott’s track and make their way down Avalanche Peak. (Image by Ciaran)
If the weather manages to keep you off of the high country, then you may like to consider a small hike to Devil’s Punchbowl as an alternative. Standing at a height of 130 meters, Devil’s Punchbowl greets you with its thundering features on a grim rainy day. From this spot, you can cross two bridges to come onto a wide and well maintained path, which leads you a viewing platform located at the base of the falls. This beautiful attraction is popular with tourists and hikers alike.
Well, as you explore the area, remember that powerful storms that track across the Tasman Sea are quite common and can transform clear sunny days into ones that offer near zero visibility in no time. If you are unlucky enough to witness 24 hour of rains that may reach 100 to 250mm, then you will surely find dry gravel flats turning into raging rivers and smooth hiking trails being transformed into small waterfalls. In these conditions, unprepared hikers may face accidents or injury which often proves to be fatal, so take care!
The Comical Kea, a peculiar but interesting adapted species of the alpine parrot is an important highlight at the Wobbly Kea. This famous local watering hole attracts plenty of mischievous Keas; whose can-opener type beaks aim directly for your backpacks, hiking shoes, and even credit cards.
So, are you ready to visit the many interesting delights of Arthur’s Pass—the right way?
Featured image courtesy by LittlePiecesOfBlessings