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Home » Adventures » New Zealand Extended Holiday » Arthur’s Pass NP

Arthur’s Pass

Avalanche Peak — Harman — Kelly — Goat Pass

Route I Walked95 km

Route I Walked
95 km

February 24 – March 1, 2013

After being rained out in Arthur’s Pass National Park the last time I was in New Zealand, I returned during my long holiday, but this time with much better weather.

After inadvertently taking the harder route to Avalanche Peak, I encountered a very crowded summit, but still with great views of the mountains and glaciers. A short ridge walk led to the longest, steepest, and loosest scree slope I have ever descended (much worse than Rabbit Pass from a few days prior), but I made it to the bottom safely, although with a lot of rocks in my shoes. From there it was up the Waimakariri River, with a side trip to the falls, most of the way to its headwaters. Afterwards a long stretch of boulder hopping brought me up to Harman Pass and more great scenery. A steep descent to Mary River and a walk along it eventually led to the small, but very hot springs near Julia Hut, in which I soaked. A steep and relentless climb over the Kelly Range provided a great view, which I think extended all the way to the Tasman Sea. The Otira Valley was completely filled with morning fog as I hiked into it, before I had to climb and boulder hop yet again, this time up the Deception River to Goat Pass. I was very glad, however, not to be racing through this valley as Coast to Coasters do. A morning climb to Lake Mavis led to a beautiful alpine lake and allowed for an invigorating swim. The tread down along the Mingha River was much better than the Deception River, and I quickly found myself back in civilization for some much needed sustenance.

Panoramic view from atop Avalanche Peak
Looking up the braided Waimakariri River, near its confluence with the Crow River
The sun rising over the mountains
The rare and endangered Whio (blue ducks)
The morning fog hanging over the Otira Valley
Looking up the Deception River