The main highway between Christchurch and the South Island’s West Coast crosses the Southern Alps at Arthur’s Pass (920m). In March 2014, the Arthur’s Pass Walkway was opened. It connects Arthur’s Pass village with the summit of the pass, covering 7km (one way) and takes about 1.5 hours to walk (three hours return on the same track). It offers a sub-alpine experience with forest, tussocks, waterfalls, wetlands and views of surrounding mountains. Walkers can choose to link to other short walks, including the Devil’s Punchbowl, and the Bridal Veil Falls, or the longer Bealey Valley, Temple Basin and Otira Valley tracks.
The photos were all taken in mid December 2014.
At the halfway point of the walkway is Jack’s Hut, where the track crosses the highway. Restored and opened in 2004, it was originally built in 1879 as a roadman’s hut. Roadmen lived in these cottages with their families, near the section of roadway they were responsible for.
The Dobson Nature Walk continues from the end of the Arthur’s Pass Walkway. It crosses boardwalks through subalpine tussocks, alpine flowers and shrubs. The Mt Cook lily has a misleading name – it is actually the world’s largest buttercup. There are many of these lilies to be seen in summer, along the nature walk.
Walkers can continue to the Otira Valley Track via the Lake Misery Track.
Part of the Arthur’s Pass experience can be seeing the lupins at Klondyke Corner, about 7km south of Arthur’s Pass village. They flower mainly in December.