In a high mountain pass on the main divide of the Southern Alps lies a picturesque alpine village.
Arthur’s Pass got its name by a very practical process. Arthur Dobson made the first survey of the pass in 1864. His brother, who was also a surveyor, made reference to the crossing as “Arthur’s pass” and the name stuck.
Arthur’s Pass village is located close to the pass that links Christchurch and Greymouth. It is the focal point for State Highway 73, the TranzAlpine railway line, and a base for visitors who wish to explore the magnificent Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Arthur’s PassThe park has wonderful walking tracks which are easily accessible from the village. Recommended half-day walks are Devil’s Punchbowl, Bridal Veil, Bealey Valley and Dobson Nature Walk. The high tussock-covered slopes are carpeted with wild herbs and alpine flowers and the Southern Alps form a dazzling backdrop of serrated ridges and eternal snowfields. At the visitor centre you will find excellent audio-visuals and displays.
The attraction of Arthur’s Pass is that every visitor can enjoy the scenery because it is so close to hand. From the highway you can view Mt. Rolleston which rises majestically above the beech forest. Arthur’s PassThis pristine mountain area is second to none and offers endless opportunities for photography. Look out for the park’s most infamous resident – the kea. This pesky alpine parrot has a very inquisitive nature and likes to fossick through trampers’ gear and strip rubber fittings off cars.
The TranzAlpine is rated as one of the best railway journeys in the world, traversing a variety of landscapes – broad plains, tussock grasslands, braided rivers, dramatic gorges, and majestic mountains. The journey can be taken as a return day trip to either Greymouth or Arthur’s Pass. A five hour stopover at the pass gives visitors time to explore the National Park. For those who want to stay awhile there is ample accommodation and a restaurant, cafè and bar.
The remote valleys and high alpine meadows of Arthur’s Pass provide an opportunity for you to experience perfect peace and solitude.