Arthur’s Pass is a well known township situated in the Southern Alps of the South Island here in New Zealand. It is also quite a busy transit stop for those heading to the West Coast and afar. Arthur’s Pass National Park was the first park to be named in the South Island and is situated right within the township itself. Surrounded by tall mountains, steep gorges and wide braided rivers, there is definitely a lot to see and do in this park.
There are quite a few different ways to enter the National Park,but as Devils Punchbowl Waterfall was on our list, we took the first right hand exit just past the railway station. Unfortunately due to the Viewing platform being unstable, the Punchbowl track is currently closed and isn’t expected to open until near the end of June.
We headed up the mountain any way and veered slighly off the main track into the forest. This walk took us about 2.5 hours return and takes you through the woodlands on a slight incline, past waterfalls and has some stunning mountain views. It does involve quite a few steps so if that’s not what your into, there are lots of easier tracks around the same area which are great for kids too.
If you are heading up to the pass in the Winter just make sure you are well equipped, it started to snow whilst we were near the top and was about 1 degree at a high so make sure you wrap up warm!!
Cave Stream Scenic Reserve – Castle Hill Basin
If you are heading back to Christchurch make sure you stop in at Cave Stream just by Flock Hill station on your way. The reserve is on SH73, between the Broken River road bridge and Craigieburn Forest Park entrance, which is about 90 minutes drive from Christchurch.
There are two short tracks which head down to the cave, just simply follow the signs to the bottom. If you do plan on entering the cave make sure you read up about the conditions of it first, as this cave has claimed lives.
Example: If the stream is abnormally high, with the water dis-coloured or foaming, do not attempt to enter. Any snow on the nearby mountains will mean the water will be near freezing, so you need to watch for things like hypothermia etc as the water can get very deep.
In saying that you can also admire the cave by entering the first part slightly, before it gets too deep. The surrounding area is also where you will find the Castle Hill basin. Here you will find lots of big bolders and lime stone formations. From the road they are cool to see but from up close and personal they are even more impressive. I suggest taking a stroll through this area, as there aren’t many more places in the South Island like this.
Side Note: The Castle Hill and Flock Hill Station areas are extremely popular for weddings! If your in the market for something a little different make sure you check out Flock Hill Lodge.
Tussocklands Park/ Porters Pass Ski Area
Tags: Arthurs Pass, arthurspass, castlehill, flockhill, lifestyle, National Park, porterspass, pure new zealand, snow, walking tracks
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