Photograph of Kea: Jason Price
Arthur’s Pass National Park is in the heart of the Southern Alps, Ka Tiritiri o te Moana. Arthur’s Pass National Park is situated between Canterbury and the West Coast in the South Island of New Zealand. Arthur’s Pass is the highest pass over the Southern Alps and it was known to Maori hunting parties as a route between east and west.
The eastern side of Arthur’s Pass National Park is characterised by wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast beech forests. The western side of the park, where wet weather is more common than dry, has deeply gorged rivers flowing through dense rainforest. Down the middle of ‘the great divide’, there are snow-covered peaks, glaciers and scree slopes.
The village at Arthur’s Pass is New Zealand’s highest town, and the starting point for many short walks.
There are many tracks and walks within the park.
The passes through the Southern Alps were used by Maori to trade pounamu or greenstone from Westland to Canterbury. Maori told explorers of the location of Arthur’s Pass.