Southern Alps Passes

Southern Alps Passes

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The fun of a West Coast holiday begins with a journey through the Southern Alps.

A 600 km long, incredibly straight wall of mountains locks the Coast into an exclusive climate zone and eco-system. Ancient Maori greenstone (jade) trails were the only land links with the rest of New Zealand 150 years ago. Today road access is a breeze with scenic trans-alpine highways and little local traffic to hinder your progress as you explore every corner of the West Coast. There are four main access roads:- Buller Gorge from Nelson, Lewis Pass from Hanmer Springs, Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch and Haast Pass from Wanaka.

The Buller Gorge road offers many fascinating diversions along the way. The fabulous Nelson Lakes present picture-book settings, alpine grandeur and perfect tranquillity. Further south the road passes sleepy towns that once rang with the discordant sounds of gold mining, pubs and dancehalls. Approaching Westport you follow the mighty Buller River and the gorge road narrows to pass under dramatic hand-hewn rock overhangs.

Lewis Pass is a scenic traverse of the Alps and travels through beech forest dripping with sub-alpine moss-covered vegetation. Stop at the summit and enjoy the Tarn Nature Walk, which is near the start of the delightful St James Walkway. Hanmer Springs is a bubbly thermal resort east of the main divide where you can pump adrenalin in Thrillseeker’s Canyon by day and relax in hot mineral pools at night.

Arthur’s Pass is a scenic two hour drive from Christchurch. This quaint alpine village nestles under the main divide at an altitude of 930 metres, which means a short tramp takes you up to stunning views, and golden alpine pastures alive with wild flowers and herb fields. Tracks lead to the dramatic Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, and old Coach Road Track.

Haast Pass highway offers a glorious parade of forest, mountains, rivers, waterfalls and the dramatic ‘Gates of Haast’ bridge. It also has a trio of aptly named waterfalls:- Roaring Billy, Thunder Creek and Fantail Falls.

Once you have arrived on the wild and wonderful West Coast, that’s when your adventure begins.

By | 2016-11-26T18:58:56+00:00 October 15th, 2013|West Coast|0 Comments

About the Author:

Danny de Hek

Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people.

My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch.

My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

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