Welcome to Arthur's Pass
Māori used this pass to cross the Southern Alps long before its 'discovery' by Arthur Dobson in 1864. The Westland gold rush created the need for a dependable crossing over the Alps from Christchurch, and the coach road was completed within a year. Later, the coal and timber trade demanded a railway, duly completed in 1923.
Today it's an amazing journey. Successive valleys display their own character, not least the spectacular braided Waimakariri River Valley, encountered as you enter the national park proper.
Arthur’s Pass village is 4km from the actual pass. At 900m, it's NZ’s highest-altitude settlement and a handy base for tramps, climbs and skiing. The weather, however, is a bit of a shocker. Come prepared for rain.