Location: 2 hours west of Christchurch on State Highway 73
Arthur’s Pass Village, which is surrounded by Arthur’s Pass National Park in the heart of the Southern Alps is one of New Zealand’s few alpine villages.
The village was established and grew as a resting place for horse-drawn coaches before they tackled Otira Gorge on the journey to the West Coast goldfields.
At the turn of the century the population of Arthur’s Pass grew to include the tunnellers who drilled the 8km Otira Tunnel. The tunnel was cut through the main divide and completed the rail link between the east and west coasts of the South Island in 1923.
Canterbury people eventually took over the tunnellers’ cottages as holiday homes, Arthur’s Pass Village is still closely associated with the railway. The Tranz Alpine train from Christchurch stops here twice daily on its journeys west and east.
The village also offers accommodation, refreshments and the chance to explore the many attractive walks in the National Park. Two attractions worthy of mention are the Alpine Chapel, carefully sited to give a remarkable altar view of the Avalanche Creek Waterfall, and the Department of Conservation Visitors' Centre which provides an information service about the Arthur's Pass area.