This is an excellent choice for people wanting a daytrip from Christchurch that includes The Tranz Alpine Train, a guided walk in Arthurs Pass National Park and return journey via the Great Alpine Highway. It is suitable for walkers of any ability and ages 5 years and over.
Our day started off in the morning with a central city pickup around 7:30am (they pick up from most central accommodation).
On our way to the Christchurch railway station we were given a brief outline of how the tour works and our schedule for the day. After arriving at the station we waved goodbye to our guide, picked up our tickets and settled down on the train for the 2.5 hour trip to Arthurs Pass.
Andrew was waiting for us when we arrived at Arthurs Pass Station and took us to the Otira lookout (a great place to see Keas) and then back to the car park at the Bealey Valley, the starting point for the walk, where we were given a bottle of water, rain jackets and walking poles (backpacks are also available if necessary)
The walk itself is about 5-6 kilometres (3-4 hours) with a vertical climb of around 200 metres so is suitable for most walkers. The track is well formed and easy to follow but there are some places where you need to walk on rocks or through running water (this is where the walking poles come in handy!)
The scenery is quite stunning and the guide’s explanation of the flora, fauna, history and geology was very interesting and informative. Halfway through the walk we stopped beside the river and ate a delicious lunch consisting of a salad sandwich, fruit, a muffin and chocolate bar (hot drinks also available)
After lunch we continued our walk up the valley and finally reached the end. As it was September we were lucky enough to be right at the edge of the ‘fake’ glacier – a great photo opportunity (as the temperature gets warmer this moves further up the valley)
From here we returned to the van and went into the township to have a look at the Arthurs Pass visitor Centre.
Time here for a look around, refreshments and toilet stop before continuing on to Springfield for afternoon tea (choice of hot drink or ice-cream included in the tour) Time for a sleep on the bus before arriving in back Christchurch around 6:00pm.
More information about the tour:
The tour operates daily (except Christmas day) from mid September to the end of May and is subject to a minimum of 2 passengers.
The your includes transport, hiking, lunch and morning or afternoon tea. There is also an option to travel both ways by road.
The order and tour contents may vary on the day depending on weather conditions.
You will need a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots, warm jacket, hat & gloves or sunglasses & sunhat depending on weather (denim is not recommended in case it rains.)
For more information on Unlimited NZ and for bookings, contact Christchurch i-SITE Visitor Centre. We offer free expert information and booking service.
Phone: +3 379 9629
Fax: +3 377 2424
Find us on facebook: Christchurch & Canterbury NZ
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