Your experience at Arthur's Pass

Sep 3rd, 2009, 04:07 PM
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Your experience at Arthur's Pass

As I continue to plan my second short trip to NZ in January, I am tempted to try to get to the mountains--I love mountains! I am a 50-yr-old female traveling solo who prefers not to drive when alone.

Last trip I saw Auckland, Rotorua (loved Te Puia), Dunedin (loved Elm Wildlife tour with penguins and albatross), Te Anau (loved glowworms), and Milford Sound. I only got to see the mountains while flying.

After I finish my conference in Wellington, I am considering flying down to Christchurch and taking the bus up to Arthur's Pass and back. Depending on my final schedule, it might be a day trip (arrive 9:30am; depart 3:00pm) or an overnight. I like short hikes and love mountain scenery.

So, have you spent any time up at Arthur's Pass? Would it be a good spot for me to soak up some views (assuming weather cooperates, of course) or is the pass area just OK with the really beautiful places toward the east or west?

Is there somewhere else you would suggest I check out for a mountain visit?

I am finding the airfare to Queenstown much more expensive than CHC, but would that be better? Easy access to short hikes and gorgeous views? Then flight on to AKL and home.
Kay2 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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Can't comment on Arthurs Pass as we did drive through there. We rented a campervan for 2 months last June/July. For me, the best mountain views were to be seen driving the Inland Scenic Route. There was somr great hiking around Lake Tekapo which was a real favouite and Mount Cook is an obvious choice with amazing views of the mountains and glacier. Here is a link to our blog with phoos and further info on our trip. NZ starts at entry 44.
crellston is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 02:21 AM
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Hi there i'm a local south islander in new zealand an have spent many days in an around arthurs pass...for plain rugged beauty you cant go past the arthurs pass national park area and the westcoast there are many ways to travel there either by shuttle bus there's daily crossings or on the tranz alpine train service that does day trips all the way to the coast and back in arthurs pass there are many day walks to beautiful and rugged places, really though a day trip wouldn't do it justice.
just be aware though that this country side is pretty unforgiving many a travller has got in to difficulty going unprepared
ric007 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions.

As a longtime traveler and hiker, I know to be cautious when alone. That is why I am looking for a single relatively popular/populated destination that allows short walks to enjoy rather than a more remote destination or longer trek that I would choose if I had a traveling companion.

Flying over and along the mountains on the last trip was like teasing--you can see this beautiful country from the air, but you won't get to experience it on the ground this trip. I think I would feel the same way if I rode the train over to the coast and back.

I think I will only plan the trip to Arthur's Pass if I can stay overnight to have most of two days there before returning to Christchurch to fly home.
Kay2 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I didn't find the two short hikes I did that gratifying, the first thru dense forest to a waterfall. The second was better, because there were wildflowers and it was more open, at Dobson's pass but I'm not even sure you can get to the trailhead without a car. Also from within Arthurs Pass village, you really don't get the views that you are anticipating.

What about Kaikoura? You can get there by train or shuttle from Christchurch, there are a few nice walks around town, and the option to take a wildlife cruise. The Kaikoura Ranges are quite impressive, more than I expected.

The YHA although a bit south of the main part of town has a great view from the dining area.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. That's what I am looking for.

I'm not interested in a wildlife cruise. I've been spoiled by whale watching in Alaska and the Bay of Fundy, seals dolphins, etc. so I found the whale searching off California disappointing in comparison.

I now have a colleague and her daughter planning to accompany me on my short travels, so I feel more responsible to make sure they see some really nice scenery on our jaunt. With the 3 of us, I might also brave renting/driving a car on the left. Though I'm not sure how much help they would be if I started to make a mistake because when they are excited/distressed they switch to Spanish and sometimes I understand/sometimes not. Could be an interesting drive!

Our itinerary may be evolving, so I will probably try to get organized with them in mind and repost any new questions.
Kay2 is offline  
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