Just 175 kilometers out of Christchurch is the outdoor playground known as Arthur's Pass National Park. This park consist of tons of trails ranging form five day tracks to 30 minute nature walks and is a must do on any South Island NZ itinerary. We arrived to the area with no plans and were able to find heaps of activities in the five days we spent here. Also if you ever need ideas in NZ always head to the isite they are more than willing to offer any info about any activitiies in the area. From free campsites to amazing basic and standard huts, you wont have to worry about breaking the bank to have an amazing kiwi experience.
If you're coming in from Christchurch, we've put together an itinerary of a few things to check out ranging from overnight hikes to huts, to free camp sites, as well as, short day hikes all within 15-20 minutes of each other.
Castle Hill - Although this isn't technically in the Arthur's Pass region, this is a must stop on the way in. The area is a rock climbers haven, but if you're not into rock climbing, you'll find plenty of things to do in this surreal landscape. Once you're satisfied wondering around the bizarre rock formations, head to Lake Pearson reserve for a free camp about 20 minutes down the road.
Bealey Spur Track- Wake up and get your backpacking bags packed and head over to Bealey Top Hut. The hike is 3 hours along a ridge. It is a steady uphill climb, but it isn't too bad. This is a free historic hut. While you won't need your tent, you will need a camping mat and a warm sleeping bag, as the bunk and hut is very quaint pioneer style, for lack of a better description. Once you have set up camp, you can continue to climb to the summit or save that for morning--you will get epic views of Waimakarir River valley.
Otira Valley - Wake up and warm up with a hot beverage or three. Then, enjoy a quick two hour decent down Bealey Spur Track to your vehicle. Drive into Arthur's Pass Village for a quick snack or a wifi binge at the Spark Mobile hot-spot in town. Once you're ready to get back at it, drive just a few kms to Otira Valley Track. This is a very easy track up a mellow valley to a bridge that claims you need mountaineering experience to advance, but I recommend you continue on till you feel comfortable. The views get better past that bridge and the trail is well marked. On a nice day, you can get an amazing view of Mount Rolleston, the highest peak in the area. Once you've soaked up the views take the easy hike back to the car park and head to Klondike Corner Campsite for some well deserved rest.
Temple Basin/O'Mally track - Sleep in this morning, you've been putting in some time on the trails. Once you've whipped up breaky and are feeling ready for another big day on the trails, pack your backpacking gear now so you won't have to later. If the weather isn't clear, you can plan on skipping the Temple Basin Ski Field. However, if the weather is clear and nice, we recommend you do the quick hike (2 hours round trip) up to the ski area base. You can get 360 degree mountain views, including an amazing view of Mount Rolleston, and you can get an idea of how the epic the Kiwi club ski fields are.
Head down and drive over to the O'Mallys car park and start the hike to either Anti Crow Hut (2hr, easy) or Carrington Hut (5hr moderate). Both tracks are along a river valley and not to arduous. It can be combined into a two night hike, if you walk to Carrington Hut for the first night. Then, for the second night, hike down to the more basic, but awesome Anti Crow hut, (bring sand fly/mozzie repellent) then out to the car park.