Arthur’s Pass is about a 2-hour scenic drive from Christchurch. Views along the way are just magnificent. In winter, mountains are snow-capped for an even more breathtaking drive. At Arthur’s Pass, there are at least six different hikes you could take, ranging in difficulty and time. One of the harder hikes is called Avalanche Peak, which is about a 6-8 hour return trip going up a vertical of over 1000m.
We took a small hike to Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall, only an hour return trip. We hiked up a little further to get some closer shots of the falls, and this part was rockier with a little less stability – all in all, it took us about 3 hours return. The walk is almost entirely uphill, but the stairs are stable and grippy with handrails. The photograph opportunities are endless here, but you need to have balls to be able to take the best shots. My friend leapt to the centre of the fall to take some pretty majestic shots, but they had to get past slippery rocks and risk being blown away by the wind.
It was starting to drizzle when we emerged from this trek so we decided against going for another one, but there are so many around the area, you could potentially spend a few days here just doing one after another. I would recommend being careful and making sure you have basic outdoors safety, like letting someone know where you’re going in case you do get lost.
On our way back to Christchurch, we stopped by Castle Hill as well – an area with an array of limestone boulders and where some battle scenes for Chronicles of Narnia were filmed. Walking into Castle Hill, you are surrounded by mountains behind, and an incredible arrangement of boulders in front.
Overall, this short preview of Arthur’s Pass was well worth it and has me craving for more. I can’t wait for the next opportunity I have to come back and do some more challenging and longer hikes in the area!