Tramping in Arthur's Pass NP, Arthur's Pass National Park
It rained on our Arthur's Pass hike maybe half the time, but we still got some rays coming through, and hey, when you are there from USA only for the day, you take what you can get and be happy! My son and I had pretty much won a 2 week trip to Australia/NZ and this was part of our cruise excursions....Wonderful clean air, waterfall views, we even saw a platypus in the rushing creek going through the park! Wish I couldve gotten that on film!
Whether you are in for a long trek across the beautiful mountains of New Zealand, or just want to go for an hour long circle track hike, Arthur's Pass is definitely the place to start your journey. Since we were on a time crunch to get to the other side of the Island and our hotel for the evening, it was essentially that we did not dawdle too much on the tracks, but we still wanted to see what we could see. Located just outside Arthur's Pass Village is a nice little walking track out to a beautiful little waterfall. I believe the name of the waterfall was the Devil's Punchbowl and the entire walk can be done in about an hour.
Arthur’s Pass National Park offers a wide range of walks, from short easy strolls to demanding multi-day treks. Many of these walks emanate from the village, making it an ideal place to base yourself. The walks offer diverse scenery, with some leading you through rich forests, others to waterfalls, some to alpine gardens, and still others to mountain tops. Some of the more popular short walks are the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall walk, the Bridal Veil walk, and the Dobson Nature Trail walk. Among the more popular of the longer day walks are Avalanche Peak tramp and the Mount Aicken tramp. Maps for all of these hikes can be obtained at the National Park Visitor Center in the village.
Just outside of the Arthurs Pass village (on the West Coast side) are a number of reasonably short and easy walks. We chose the half hour track to the Devils Punchbowl Falls.
A large bridge first takes you over the rocky river before the path winds up through the bush. The track is easy to follow and in good repair. Rocky in parts, some care needs to be taken as you clamber over tree roots, but much of the track has been set with board walk and steps. A young New Zealand girl slipped and fell to her death on some rocks in this area a year or so ago, and I suspect this may have lead to much of the new board walk you see here today.
The bush scenery is lush and stunning, and as you arrive at the falls, a viewing platform gives you a good view of the water as it falls. You can clamber out onto the rocks, but it goes without saying that good care needs to be taken.
You may checkout the routes to all the walks at the Visitors Centre. Purchase a map and register your walk with the staff.
There are many short walks leaving from the around the Arthur's Pass Village. This include the Dobson Walk and other walks that start from the summit of the pass.
From various points along StateHighway 73, a number of tracks head for the summit of the surrounding mountains. Please be prepared for about 5-8 hours of tracking.
A few tracks will lead you into remote valleys and high alpine passes. Two of the more popular are the Cass Saddle trip and the Minga/ Deception trip over Goat Pass.
The 'Arthur's Pass National Park Mountaineering Guide' by Graeme Kates is a very good guide to read to prepare you for the climbling.
The Arthur's Pass Park has wonderful walking tracks which are easily accessible from the village.
I would recommend the easiet walk which is a 10 mins return trip from th Arthur's Pass Chapel to the waterfall viewpoint.
Other recommended half-day walks are Devil’s Punchbowl, Bridal Veil, Bealey Valley and Dobson Nature Walk.
Remember to register your walks so that the rangers will be able to rescue you if you are lost.
We took the shortest walk to the Waterfall View Point which is a 10 mins return trip.
It was the easiest walk and due to the limited time we have.
The walk will start from a track just behind the Chapel. The sceneries are rewarding even for a short walk in the rain.