Southern Alps and Arthur's Pass Tour (Day tour: 9-9½ hours)
$190 ($300 incl. one-way TranzAlpine train ride)
The Arthur's Pass highway is the closest place to Christchurch where the visitor can really get among the peaks of the Southern Alps.
This small-group nature tour is for travellers who like to take short walks and learn about the mountains, plants, animals and human history of the beautiful Arthur's Pass area.
The day tour encompasses abundant alpine scenery, subalpine lakes, broad river beds, mountain streams, moody alpine forests and high country farmland.
You will travel from Christchurch into the heart of the Southern Alps, New Zealand's highest mountain range.Watch how the high country landscape changes as we thread our way north-west among Canterbury’s mountain chains.
The variety of scenery includes impressive limestone formations and serene subalpine lakes.
Arthur’s Pass National Park has excellent viewing points and short walks - it is a great place to see and learn about New Zealand’s distinctive alpine environment.
On the west side of Arthur's Pass, we descend the precipitous Otira Gorge into the lush West Coast rainforests.
You have a good chance of seeing a kea, New Zealand's mischievous mountain parrot. Watch your food!
The tour includes a number of stops at viewpoints where you can enjoy the remote, silent and unspoilt expanses of the South Island's high country.
- Various short walks take you through mossy forests, among large rock formations, and (for fitter visitors) to one of New Zealand's best waterfalls.
An optional one-way ride on the TranzAlpine train through the Waimakariri River gorge to Arthur’s Pass can be taken. NOTE that a return trip on the TranzAlpine train omits some of the best scenery in the area including the crossing of Arthur's Pass and the Otira Gorge. If you would like to take the train, a tour encompassing both road and rail options is recommended.
'The tours promised something different and more interesting than the usual bus tours ... We were not disappointed and enjoyed a day that we will remember fondly for many years to come' - Geraldine and Frank, Australia.