“In the heart of the Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass National Park has an incredible diversity of flora and landscapes. They range from eastern beech clad hills and tussock valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west. The highest mountains have glaciers and surrounding them are tussock basins, flowering herbs and alpine grasses”.
Journey from Christchurch across the wide expanses of the Canterbury Plains on the world famous TranzAlpine™ train and enter the high country surrounded by rugged mountain ranges. After leaving the Canterbury Plains, the landscape dramatically changes into sub-alpine as you head towards the spectacular Southern Alps.
View the Waimakariri River and its unique braided riverbed system. Recognised as an outstanding natural landscape feature, the Waimakariri River’s headwaters are in the heart of the main divide of Southern Alps.
Follow the old stage coach route and travel down the spectacular Otira Gorge, testament to the road builders of the 1860's and the route taken by the Maori in their quest for greenstone.
Experience the rugged and beautiful Arthur’s Pass National Park where short walks can be made to experience forests, rivers and mountain vistas.
Watch out for the cheeky and mischievous Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot.
The return journey to Christchurch includes a visit to view Cave Stream Reserve, where the stream burrows underground in an area of limestone cliffs, gorges and craggy outcrops. This is an outstanding example of a karst landscape and these remarkable landforms are all created by the simple process of water dissolving limestone.
It is here, amongst the setting of mountains that much of the filming of C J Lewis’ story - “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” took place.
A stop is also made to view Kura Tawhiti (a treasure from afar) - the incredible Castle Hill rocks. This unique weatherworn rain smoothed outcrops of limestone are seen from the highway and a walk can be made to the top of the rocks for magnificent views.
View more Arthur's Pass photos.
Download the Arthur's Pass & Otira Day Safari brochure.