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Arthur's Pass day walks

Alert/Important notice

September 2014: Spring conditions in alpine areas

Spring conditions exist. Snow still affects many higher tracks and routes. Ice axe, crampons and avalanche skills may be required. Please check with the Visitor Centre for current conditions in all alpine areas.

Track category

Tramping track

Description

Bealey Spur

Time: 4 - 6 hr return

The track starts from the end of Cloudesley Road, off the main highway near the Bealey Hotel, 14 km south of Arthur’s Pass Village. Parking is available near the base of Cloudesley Road. Walk up the road to access the track.

This walk is often a good choice when north-westerly winds are bringing rain to Arthur’s Pass - being further east, it is drier in these conditions. The track also appeals to many walkers because it is more gradual than most of the alpine tracks around Arthur’s Pass Village, and it does not climb above the bush-line. It is also well marked and is suitable for reasonably fit people who are well equipped.

The track climbs gently up the spur, through mountain beech forest. In summer look out for red flowering mistletoe near the start of the track. At one point there is a dramatic view down to Bruce Stream—take care with children. Higher up, the track passes through tussock grasslands and subalpine scrub, and passes near several tarns. There are expansive views of the Waimakariri River Valley and surrounding mountains.

The track ends at an historic hut, once used by musterers in the days when this area was farmed for sheep.

Carroll Hut

Time: 6 hr return

This track starts at the Kellys Creek car park beside SH 73, three km north of Otira Village. It is a steep climb through rata/kamahi forest and subalpine scrub. This leads onto the tussock grasslands which surround the hut on the Kelly Range. On fine days there are good views from the saddle behind the hut looking down the Taramakau River to the West Coast.

 

Avalanche Peak

Time: 6 - 8 hr return

This is the most popular day walking peak at Arthur’s Pass. It is the only peak in Arthur’s Pass that is marked by a poled route to the summit. The climb is 1100 metres from the village and, on a fine day, you will be rewarded with fine views of the surrounding peaks, particularly of Mt Rolleston and the Crow Glacier on its southern face. There are two tracks to the summit, Scotts Track and Avalanche Peak Track, both of which start from Arthur’s Pass Village.

If you wish to climb to the bush-line only, Scotts track is the best local track for views, particularly of Mt Rolleston, the highest peak near Arthur’s Pass Village. You also get an excellent view of Punchbowl Falls 10 minutes up from the start of the track.

Be sure to take the map and Arthur's Pass: Avalanche Peake route guide, available from the Arthur’s Pass Visitor Centre.

Warning: In winter this track is subject to avalanche hazard. In winter conditions you must carry snow and ice climbing equipment and know how to use it.

Mountain climbs

There are several mountains immediately surrounding Arthur's Pass Village which offer a steep and challenging walk to the bushline.

The tracks end at the bushline. You should only proceed further if:

  • You have told someone where you are going
  • You are experienced in tramping in New Zealand conditions
  • You have a map, compass, route information and navigation skills
  • You are well equipped with a rain jacket, warm clothing, and food and water
  • You have checked the weather forecast

Mt Aicken

Time: 3 - 4 hr return (to bushline and back)

This track begins from the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall carpark. The turnoff is signposted 15 minutes up the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall track. The track passes an old pipeline that fed an electricity generator used during the rail tunnel construction. The track then climbs steeply to the forest edge.

Note: Routes beyond the bushline are not marked. For experienced alpine trampers only.

Warning: In winter this track is subject to avalanche hazard. In winter conditions you must carry snow and ice climbing equipment and know how to use it.

Mt Bealey

Time: 3 - 4 hr return (to bushline and back)

This track starts from a small carpark on the south side of Rough Creek. A tramping track zig-zags through the beech forest onto the main ridge leading to Mt Bealey.

Note: Routes beyond the bushline are not marked. For experienced alpine trampers only.

Warning: In winter this track is subject to avalanche hazard. In winter conditions you must carry snow and ice climbing equipment and know how to use it.

Mt Cassidy (Cons Track)

Time: 3 - 4 hr return (to bushline and back)

Steep! This track follows a steep crested ridge from the north side of Punchbowl Creek. The track ends at the bushline where there are good views of Arthur’s Pass village.

Note: Routes beyond the bushline are not marked. For experienced alpine trampers only.

Warning: In winter this track is subject to avalanche hazard. In winter conditions you must carry snow and ice climbing equipment and know how to use it.

Plan and prepare

Be safe and beware - this is mountain country

  • Take warm clothing and raincoat, sunhat and sunscreen, something to eat and drink and strong footwear. Mountain weather can change quickly.
  • Take a map - available from the Arthur’s Pass Visitor Centre. Boots are recommended footwear.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Walking on tracks and routes above the bushline (the upper edge of the forest) is recommended only in good weather conditions. The routes are mostly unmarked and you need good visibility to find your way. Above the bush line you are exposed to the severity of the mountain weather.
  • When snow covers the ground routes will be less obvious and there may also be a danger of avalanches - snow climbing equipment is recommended.
  • 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.


Related link 

Discover Arthur's Pass brochure (PDF, 3,776K)

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Contacts

Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 318 9211
Address:   State Highway 73
Arthur's Pass
Email:   arthurspassvc@doc.govt.nz
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Rangiora Office
Phone:      +64 3 313 0820
Email:   waimakariri@doc.govt.nz
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