Plan & prepare
Don't become a headline - plan your trip to your ability and be prepared for sudden changes in weather
State Highway 73, the main road between Greymouth and Christchurch in the South Island, goes right through the park and the village of Arthur’s Pass. Winding in places, it is one of the country’s most scenic routes. It’s a two hour drive from Christchurch in the east, and about one and half hour’s drive from Greymouth on the west coast. Regular bus services operate between Greymouth, Hokitika and Christchurch. The scenic Tranzalpine Express offers a daily, spectacular train journey between Christchurch and Greymouth, stopping at Arthur’s Pass.
Arthur’s Pass National Park is rugged and mountainous, with weather that can change rapidly with little warning. All visitors should be prepared for wet and cold conditions, even in summer. The Tramping in Arthur's Pass brochure (PDF, 744K) is designed to help you choose and plan your trip.
For those planning overnight trips, there are many backcountry huts which trampers can use. The tracks are not as developed as they are in other parks and are not continuously marked. Most involve river crossings, with high rainfall causing rivers to rise quickly. Some areas are prone to avalanche risk between May and November.
Please check at the Department of Conservation visitor centre for up-to-date information on weather and track conditions.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.