5 Incredible things to do in Arthur’s Pass

Arthurs Pass is somewhere that people usually just pass through on their way from or to Christchurch. However, if you love the outdoors and hiking, it’s worth spending a night or two here to explore some of the hiking tracks! 

Some of the things on this list can be completed within a few hours, so it is possible to them even if you only have 1 day to spare on your New Zealand roadtrip. 

1. Hike the Arthur’s Pass walking track

Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Arthurs Pass, and Arthurs Pass walking track is one of the trails which is best suited to most fitness levels. 

This 6.8km return track starts from Arthurs Pass village at the Devils Punchbowl Carpark. Along the track you will see waterfalls and impressive views of the surrounding mountains. This hike only takes around 2-3 hrs to complete. You can read my full experience hiking Arthurs Pass walking trail here. 

2. See the Incredible Devils Punchbowl

This walk will only take you about 45min to 1 hr to complete. It’s worth doing because the waterfall is truly impressive! This 131-metre waterfall, is one of the most ferocious in all of New Zealand.

The access to this waterfall starts in Devils Punchbowl carpark, from here you will cross two swing bridges because ascending some steps. The walk is very easy and suitable for any fitness level. 

3. Hike Avalanche Peak Route

If you are an experienced hiker and love mountains, then this is the hike for you! This hike takes around 5-6hrs to complete, even though it’s only a 6km return track. It has a very steep ascent up Avalanche peak route, where you will gain over 1110ms. On a clear day, you will be rewarded with impressive views over the Southern Alps! 

I didn’t get to experience those incredible views, as the weather took a turn for me on my ascent. However, I still recommend this hike, as I know the views would be incredible on a clear day. You can read my experience walking the track here. 

4. Explore Kura Tawhiti/Caslte Hill Conservation Area 

You will pass this area on your way to Arthurs Pass from Christchurch. These rock formations were formed years ago and were once under the ocean. Over the years, the rock formations were eroded away into the shapes you see today. 

The whole walk will only take you about 30mins to complete. 

5. Hike the Bealey Spur Track 

This is a hike which unfortunately I ran out of time to complete, plus the weather on my last day in Arthurs Pass was shocking! This 12km return track takes you high above the river valley towards to Bealey Hut. You can also stay in the Bealey Hut for a night if you choose. 

Where to stay?

If you are travelling around in a campervan like myself, I recommend staying at the Avalanche creek shelter. This DOC campsite is very basic, but it has bathrooms, drinking water and a shelter to cook. There are no designated camping spots, so simply find a spot that suits you and park up. This will cost you $10NZDpp/pn. It is right next to a trainline; however these trains do not run at night. 

If you are looking for budget accommodation, I recommend the Mountain House YHA. A bed in an 8 person dorm will cost you $32NZD a night, where as a private room, $99NZD per night. 

For something a bit more up market, there is the Arthurs Pass Motel and Lodge. There are a few other accommodations around the Arthurs Pass area, all three of these options are in the village, which makes it easy to access the walking trails. 

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