New Zealand Destinations : Arthur’s Pass

Marianne, Charlotte and I have finally got away from home and are spending our last night in Arthur’s Pass.

I thought we would share some ‘dot point’ bits of information with you regarding the area.

The distance from Christchurch (150km)  is doable for a long day trip. It takes slightly more than an hour and half driving at the speed limit.

Like many locations in New Zealand, you could spend anywhere from 1 hour to 1 week based in the location and not be bored. Because we like to keep things settled for Charlotte, we stayed at the alpine motel for three nights in the actual township of Arthur’s Pass. It has all the necessary amenities for self contained living though the township itself only has a limited general store. We passed several other locations for accommodation which we had considered but none of them seemed as attractive as being in the pass itself. This is particularly the case if you are like hiking. There are a myriad of short walks, day hikes and multiday trekking opportunities in the area and the town of Arthur’s Pass seems most central to all of them. The main disadvantage staying here is that you may be woken up several times a night if you are a light sleeper as the trains do continue their services.

During our three days here, these are some of our experiences:

Charlotte has been having a great time getting out of the carrier. Unfortunately , this less photography time but fortunately, it means more meaningful mummy and daddy bonding time! This picture was taken at Castle Hill Rocks on the way to Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch. Segments of the first Narnia movie were filmed here.

Charlotte enjoying Castle Hill Rocks

Charlotte enjoying Castle Hill Rocks

In the township itself, there are many opportunities to photograph waterfalls! Perhaps the most well known and most impressive is the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ falls. This is a section below the actual falls.

Devil's Puncbowl Fall runoff

Devil’s Puncbowl Fall runoff

The area is a wonderland for hiking (like most of New Zealand) . The most strenuous day hike is probably Avalanche Peak, a trek which takes you from 700+ altitude to 1800+ altitude in a hard vertical climb often over narrow ridgelines with steep falloffs on either side. I had planned to stay up there for sunset but good sense and bad weather sent me down the mountain shortly after mid afternoon. I had prepared to go down in the dark but after coming up, I didn’t relish falling off a ridge in the darkness! If you are fit and don’t mind getting sweaty, you can definitely do the return journey in less than the 6-8 hours quoted. This image was taken in a literal moment of clearing of cloud.

A brief moment of clarity!

A brief moment of clarity!

The night skies are something to behold in this area. Other than light pollution from the one street in town, the area was pitch black at night with a new moon.

A night freight train passes beneath the endless stars

A night freight train passes beneath the endless stars

The Waimakariri river flows south of the town and makes for some interesting photographic opportunities. I would have loved to have hiked the Bealey Spur trail but even staying 3 nights here meant that there was a selection process.

The light faded shortly afterward

The light faded shortly afterward

Next stop ; Greymouth for 2 nights! Keep smiling Charlotte 😉

(Lastly, apologies for the likely ‘darkness’ of the images. Our laptop is notoriously bright and I plan to re-edit all of these images when I get back home anyway.

Until the next stop!

Until the next stop!


Posted on April 14, 2013, in How we..., New Zealand, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Keep the family shots rolling in guys!!

    SO jealous right now!

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