2 Weeks in New Zealand’s South Island. Day 15 : Arthur’s Pass – West Coast to Christchurch
Arthur’s Pass, the magical stretch of road that connects the South Island’s two coasts, was top of the agenda today making it a day that’s more about the journey than the destination. Arthur’s Pass is listed as a 2-3 hour drive but you’d be crazy if you don’t take your time and you can see why!
Arthur’s Pass can also be traversed by train, namely the Tranzalpine, but if you can manage it by car you’ll be able to stop at your leisure, and believe me, with 360 degree postcard views there are photo stops galore.
We chose to stop at Otira Viaduct for photos and to freeze our bits off, Arthur’s Pass township for lunch and Kea sightings (Kea are large, native birds that will literally eat anything), Cave Stream where the hiking directions are sketchy but if you head to the right you’ll come to the mouth of, well a cave with a stream, hence the name I guess, and lastly Castle Hill where we wandered among rocks the size of buildings, as seen in both Narnia and Middle Earth.
Arthur’s Pass township
Overall, the Arthur’s Pass drive is so damn incredible and immense that at one point I pleaded for it to stop because I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of it all and craving a break from the shutter button.
We arrived in Christchurch late afternoon and checked into the incredibly pretty Merivale Manor where another photo frenzy ensued. The Merivale area is the perfect place to stay, full of beautiful old heritage buildings as well as shops and restaurants that have migrated from the ruined city centre.
We stayed at: Merivale Manor, Christchurch
We stopped at: Every roadside pullover, Otira Viaduct Lookout, Arthur’s Pass, Cave Stream, Castle Hill, Christchurch
We wore (in spring): Layers, layers, layers including scarf and beanie
Distance: Greymouth to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass is approximately 3 hours 20 minutes drive without scenic stops.