Arthur's Pass & Otira Gorge Day Safari

Plains, passes, keas & alps

DAY SAFARI FROM CHRISTCHURCH
with the TranzAlpine™ train
(WDAP01)

“In the heart of the Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass National Park has an incredible diversity of flora and landscapes. They range from eastern beech clad hills and tussock valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west. The highest mountains have glaciers and surrounding them are tussock basins, flowering herbs and alpine grasses.”

Journey from Christchurch across the wide expanses of the Canterbury Plains on the world famous TranzAlpine™ train and enter the high country surrounded by rugged mountain ranges. After leaving the Canterbury Plains, the landscape dramatically changes into sub-alpine as you head towards the spectacular Southern Alps.

View the Waimakariri River and its unique braided riverbed system. Recognised as an outstanding natural landscape feature, the Waimakariri River’s headwaters are in the heart of the main divide of Southern Alps.

Follow the old stage coach route and travel down the spectacular Otira Gorge, testament to the road builders of the 1860's and the route taken by the Maori in their quest for greenstone.

Experience the rugged and beautiful Arthur’s Pass National Park where short walks can be made to experience forests, rivers and mountain vistas.

Watch out for the cheeky and mischievous Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot.

The return journey to Christchurch includes a visit to view Cave Stream Reserve, where the stream burrows underground in an area of limestone cliffs, gorges and craggy outcrops. This is an outstanding example of a karst landscape and these remarkable landforms are all created by the simple process of water dissolving limestone.

It is here, amongst the setting of mountains that much of the filming of C J Lewis’ story - “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” took place.

A stop is also made to view Kura Tawhiti (a treasure from afar) - the incredible Castle Hill rocks. This unique weatherworn rain smoothed outcrops of limestone are seen from the highway and a walk can be made to the top of the rocks for magnificent views.

Highlights of your day

  • Travel from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass on the one of the world’s most famous train journeys, the TranzAlpine™ train. Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps and enter Arthurs Pass National Park.
  • Take short guided walks to experience the diverse landscapes and scenic beauty of Arthurs Pass National Park.
  • Travel down the Otira Gorge in the heart of the Southern Alps.
  • Search for the Nestor notabilis, the endemic alpine parrot – the Kea. 
  • Enjoy guided walks to experience the incredible karst landscapes at Cave Stream and Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Rocks.

Tour inclusions

  • Travel by deluxe 4WD minicoach 
  • TranzAlpine™ train from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass 
  • Fully guided and hosted with informative commentary
  • Delicious picnic morning and afternoon NZ wine and cheese
  • Lunch in a country pub with spectacular mountain views
  • Guided walks to explore the varied landscapes
  • City accommodation pickup / dropoff
  • Depart your Christchurch accommodation at 7.30am and return approximately 5.45pm

View more Arthur's Pass photos

Download the Arthur's Pass & Otira Day Safari brochure