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The Otira Gorge is west of Arthur's Pass. It is a steep gorge and until recently was only able to be traversed by a narrow winding road that was dangerous due to land slips and avalanches.
The Otira Viaduct was completed in 1999. The road features an avalanche protection tunnel and passes under a diverted waterfall.
Just out of the Arthur's Pass township is a turn-off to the left which takes you to point giving a fantastic view of the viaduct.
Written Aug 4, 2012
A must see while in the past for either 20mins or 2 days is the Department of Conservation office (or as us Kiwis say "DOC" as in the dwarf).
There is heaps of history about the area and also some very up-to-date information on local weather and track conditions.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: On the Main Road - just near the public toilets.
Endemic to the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Kea is the world’s only alpine parrot. One of the world’s most intelligent creatures, the Kea is a notorious trickster which likes nothing more than destroying property. Especially fond of rubber, Keas have been known to strip cars of their windshield wipers, roof racks, and the rubber casings around car windows. Nearly everyone agrees that this destructive behavior is funny and fun to watch, unless it is happening to you. In two days in Arthur’s Pass, I was lucky enough to observe several mischievous Keas firsthand, and they kept me amused nearly the entire time. I watched Keas steal sandwiches, pull at shoestrings, rip at garbage, chew on a rubber foot mat, chew on chairs, and tug on rucksacks. The most entertaining episode was when one of the Keas stole a sandwich encased in plastic off a table at the Arthur’s Pass Store. The sandwich’s rightful owner chased after the Kea into the bush, cursing at it as he went. As he crashed through the bushes, the Kea ripped the plastic in half and flew off with most of the sandwich, leaving the man muttering to himself. Quite hilarious.
Updated Feb 8, 2007
Keas are native alpine parrots, and like all parrots, they are intelligent, cheeky and mischevious. In particular, they seem to have a real fondness for rubber, and anything belonging to a car hire company. Left to their own devices, yes they WILL chew your windscreen wipers, your arial, the rubber around your windshield.
Most people will tell you to be very very wary of them.
Unless there is a real crowd at the lookout (in peak summer there probably will be) then if you take a little time, you can watch these funny birds get up to all sorts of antics without sacrificing your wipers. We let them play with a length of rope, a watch (OK, we briefly tolerated them on the back of the ute) and then stared in astonishment as one of the birds dragged an old abandoned drinks can out from behind a rock, seemingly a favourite toy stashed away for special occasions! Woodstock Bourbon, would you believe!
The sign says not to feed them. Please don't. But do enjoy spending time with them.
Updated Jul 8, 2006
I dithered for a while - should Lake Lyndon be Things To Do or Off The Beaten Path? Well, it isn't really off the beaten path - you are going to drive right by it - but you might drive straight past. Do try not to. This pretty glacial lake, surrounded by low-ish peaks - Mount Lyndon is the highest at 1,476 meters - is a good place to stop, stretch you legs, maybe enjoy a picnic lunch. There is a good shelter if weather is poor. The last time I stopped at Lyndon, when these photos were taken, the lake levels were particularly low, at the start of winter.
If you have time for a detour, an unsealed gravel road will take you to the much larger Lake Coleridge and the braided Rakaia River, but you will need to double back in order to continue your journey onto Arthurs Pass.
New Zealand often uses its lakes, mountains and coasts on its postage stamps - a frosty Lake Lyndon illustrated the 40c stamp in the Scenic Reflection stamps issued in 2000.
Written Jun 28, 2006
Make sure you stop off at some of the lookouts along the way on your drive from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass...there is so much to see along the way!!! The wildflowers are so pretty and they are everywhere...at least they were when we were there in December... ;)
Updated Apr 21, 2006
This is the first time I have seen an acrons tree.
These has dried up in time for Christmas decoration at home.
I was so tempted to bring home a big one but I guess I may not made it thru to the customs or will be questioned or fined at the immigrations.
Written Jan 28, 2006
Address: Castle Hill
Every visitor to Arthur’s Pass can enjoy the magnificant sceneries because it is so close to hand.
From the highway you can view Mt Rolleston which rises majestically above the forest.
These mountains which still have their snow caps on, offers endless opportunities for photography.
I believe there are more sheep than human beings in South Island ;p
Written Jan 28, 2006
Just opposite the Castle Hill is the Castle Hill Station.
Castle Hill Station is a working farm, no access.
The backdrop is a beautiful mountain.
The farm is where the sheep roam around.
We rarely see cars on the road but this is where all the cars stopped by and staring in amazed what nature has given to us.
Written Jan 23, 2006
Address: State Highway 73
just don't drive like the devil is behind you, stop the car, get out, have a picnic better.....take a walk, explore whats beyond the road. Castle Hill, Cave Stream comes to my mind. all is very well signed out, you can't miss it.
Castle Hill right by the Road halfway to the Pass, always reminds me a little of Stonehenge, nothing like it realy, just reminds me of Stonehenge. but I think you get my drift, we all see what we wanna see
Written Mar 15, 2005