Arthur's Pass, climbing to more than 900 metres through Arthur's Pass National Park, is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps.
If you’re travelling from Canterbury to the West Coast, this is the road to take. It is a piece of extreme engineering involving viaducts, bridges, rock shelters and waterfalls redirected into chutes.
Arthur’s Pass National Park itself is a landscape of two halves. On the eastern side, you'll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest. Descend the western side and you venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers. Take in the scenic views on the renowned Tranz Alpine rail service.
If you're feeling adventurous, go hiking or mountaineering. You'll probably spot New Zealand’s inquisitive and comical alpine parrot, the kea, along the way. And during winter you can join the lucky skiers and snowboarders enjoying spectacular runs in the Temple Basin Ski Area.
Arthur’s Pass village is one of the highest settlements in the country. Here you can gaze into the historic Otira rail tunnel – an epic engineering feat through 8.5 kilometres of rock. If you need to stretch your legs, walk the one-hour return journey to the Devil's Punchbowl Falls. And if you feel like staying a while, the village has a choice of accommodation, cafés and shops.