From east to west across the great divide
Arthur’s pass provides spectacular views from the interconnecting maze-like rivers that converge at the base of the national park, to the near-vertical wilderness expanses that tower over the low headlands and tunnels. Further west, past the many dips and valleys, the dense green of the forest is transformed into a great abundance of white. Mt Murchison is its highest peak, reaching an impressive 2,400 metres.
In 1864 Arthur Dudley found his way across the pass, an impressive feat by any standard and the Maori people placed great significance on the pass, as a clear direct journey from east to west.
The majority of people come by the highway when travelling to this National Park. Since Arthur first made the trek across the pass, a lot of money, hard toil and human ingenuity have gone into the constructions that have allowed people to get to places that never seemed possible before.
What to do
You can take walks from the highway to different attractions, from The Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, the Bridal Veil Track, the Historic Village walk and the Temple Basin…these are just a few of the great short walks on offer. For a full day of walking, you can take on the Cons track, Mount Bealey and Mount Aicken.
On Mount temple there are ski fields open over winter that are enjoyed by skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.
For the mountaineering, there are a great smorgasbord of climbing options over snow, ice and rock that will test the most seasonal of experts.
Where to stay
The Department of Conservation has many huts and simple dwellings in the park which are situated all along the track. In the village enjoy an affordable backpacker cabin or for comfort stay at one of the hotels.
A few hours east from the village is Christchurch which has a huge range of accommodation options for all price brackets and tastes. If that seems a bit too far to travel then heading west for only an hour will get you to the town of Greymouth where there are also some great options.