IntroductionThese short, easy walks around Arthur's Pass village feature waterfalls, forest or alpine views - they are great options for kids.
Time: 10 min return
This easy walk, suitable for prames, starts beside the visitor centre. Follow the path along the base of the hill towards the village. Small trout are often seen in Avalanche Creek from the historic bridge. From here, the path goes up to a viewing platform overlooking the Avalanche Creek Waterfall, which is lit at night. This section is steep and may be difficult for prams.
Arthur's Pass Village historic and interpretive walk
Time: 1 hr 30 min round trip but you can choose to do less
Start at the visitor centre where you can purchase a pamphlet outlining the walk, which goes through and beyond the village. Some sections are footpath, suitable for prams; other sections are tracks. Walk to ten plaques scattered around and throughout the village. At each site photographs show you how the village used to look in the early 1900’.
Time: 5 min to Bealey Chasm, or 25 min to track end (both times one way)
From the car park opposite Jacks Hut, the track follows a short section of the Arthur's Pass Walking Track before branching off to cross Bealey Chasm – a narrow channel where the river cascades over huge boulders.
For stunning views of Mt Rolleston, continue on for a couple of minutes, climbing a hill to a snowgrass clearing. The track re-enters the beech forest and ends when you reach the Bealey River. This track is subject to avalanche hazard in winter past this point; please heed the warning signs.
Dobson Nature Walk
Time: 15 min (one way)
The track starts at the Temple Basin car park. After approx 200m, cross the road and follow the track as it leads you in a semi-circle through a rich variety of subalpine and alpine plants, including herbs, tussocks, shrubs and flowers and the Mt Cook buttercup Ranunculus lyallii. The alpine flowers are in bloom from November to February.
There are a few interpretation points along the walk and seats along the way with good views of the surrounding mountains. An excellent self-guided booklet about the different native plants and their habitats is available from the Arthur’s Pass Visitor Centre.
The track finishes opposite the Dobson Memorial on the other side of the road. Return the same way to the car park.
Old Coach Road
Time: 30 min return
This pleasant forest walk starts and finishes near Greyneys Shelter, six km east of Arthur’s Pass Village. It follows a gently-graded section of the century-old coach road and leads back to the shelter on a more recent track.
The coach road was cut into the hillside to avoid the Bealey riverbed, which is prone to floods. You can still see sections of old rock-walling along one part of the track. It is suitable for all-terrain baby buggies. At the northern end of the track there is a rope handrail. You can use it for guidance, so shut your eyes and use your other senses as you move through the forest.
Most of the short walks start at or near the Arthur's Pass village, on SH 73, about 150 km from Christchurch.
Several bus services run between Christchurch and the West Coast daily, stopping at the village. The Tranzalpine scenic train journey also stops at Arthur's Pass.
Take warm clothing and raincoat, sunhat and sunscreen, something to eat and drink and strong footwear. Mountain weather can change quickly.