- Arthur's Pass
170 km (106 miles)
Approximately 2 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway
The route known as Arthur’s Pass was first used by Maori tribes crossing to the west coast to find pounamu (jade). Today it’s a sophisticated mountain pass, memorable for its scenery as well as its breathtaking civil engineering.
The settlement of Arthur’s Pass is a base for climbing, hiking, hunting and skiing adventures in the adjacent national park. There’s a good choice of short walks.
The road follows the Waimakariri and Bealey Rivers down to the skiing areas of Porter Heights and Craigieburn. Lakes Pearson and Grasmere are photo opportunities along the way. Rural serenity and friendly towns lead you across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. You’ll pass Kirwee, Darfield, Sheffield and Springfield.
The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.
Arthur's Pass National Park
Snowy peaks, scree slopes, steep gorges and wide braided rivers are characteristics that make the Arthur's Pass National Park unforgettable.
Cave Stream Scenic Reserve
A limestone cave nearly 600 metres long provides a unique, and rather wet, adventure at Cave Stream Scenic Reserve.
Craigieburn Conservation Area
Enjoy the sheltered forest valleys and rocky tussock slopes of this alpine park. Follow a short nature trail or stretch out along a four-hour hike.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Founded more than 140 years ago, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens has many special areas to explore.
Following a large earthquake in February 2011, a large portion of the Cathedral was damaged including the west end and tower.