There is plenty to do at Arthur’s Pass. To encourage you to explore Arthur’s Pass National Park, we’ll provide you with a packed lunch whenever you’re staying more than one night. Geoff has explored much of Arthur’s Pass National Park and surrounding land and can give advice on places to visit.
Arthur’s Pass National Park offers a range of walks, from short easy strolls to demanding rock and ice climbs. Tracks lead you through rich forest, to waterfalls, alpine meadows and rugged mountain-tops.
Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall – starts from the village heading west, it is well signposted. This is a steady uphill walk which takes around an hour return.
Millenium Walk – 10 minutes, track starts from behind DoC Visitor Centre and heads through bush to Avalanche Creek and past the Chapel.
Dobson Nature Walk – Heading west on SH73 Dobson’s walk takes around an hour.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) has information about short walks, day walks and longer trips in the area.
Surrounded by Arthur’s Pass National Park, our house is a good base for bird watching and botany. We have a small collection of books on natural history as well as guides to alpine plants and wildlife. The Department of Conservation vistor centre has information on nature walks and local guide Hamish Reid can take you out for the day.
Temple Basin is the nearest ski-field to Arthur’s Pass Village and the access walk is only 5 km from our house. It’s magnificently located field on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps. But if a 40 minute walk to the start of the field is not your thing (there is a goods lift for your gear), then you can ski on Broken River, Craigieburn, Cheeseman or Porter Heights fields on the nearby Craigieburn Range.
Arthurs Pass is a place where Canterbury mountaineers have traditionally learnt their craft. There’s a good variety of routes ranging from easy scrambles to reasonably technical climbs.
If alpine rock climbing is your thing, you can climb on Temple Buttress (recommended) or Mt Philistine (reputedly scary) and be back in time for a late afternoon beer in the village. Kura Tawhiti/Castle Hill and Flock Hill, back down the road towards Christchurch offer superb limestone climbing. Please respect the importance of Kura Tawhiti to Ngai Tahu and also follow the ethics code for the location.
There is a 594m long cave at Cave Stream that is fun to walk through at low river flows but beware of high water flows and note that there is a 3 metre climb past a waterfall at the top end of the cave.
From time to time in winter the snow falls low enough for snow shoeing.
Bad weather options
The Department of Conservation’s Visitor Centre is worth visiting for a good couple of hours with heaps of good information about the National Park and it’s history. Curl up by the log burner with a book from our shelves. If you’re staying more than one night, we have a couple of spare rain coats and woolly hats you can borrow.