If you’re travelling through Arthurs Pass and looking for a challenging walk that you can do in a day, look no further than Avalanche Peak. It’s a 6 hour or so round trip that will give you fantastic views from the top.
Plan ahead, get prepared
Any time you’re heading into New Zealand’s bush or alpine environment, you need a good plan. Our friends at New Zealand Mountain Safety Council will help you #MakeItHomeNZ. Check out their super helpful Plan My Trip tool, here.
Your free CamperMate app has Mountain Safety Council track warnings built-in, including weather alerts, so make sure you keep your notifications on! The Avalanche Peak track can be dangerous in spring or winter.
We had great weather (our trip took place in January), a hot and sunny 27-degree day, and only a slight breeze to keeping us cool during the hike up.
That said, it’s a good idea to always pack a jacket and an extra layer, just in case. You’re in the mountains, after all!
The track is very well kept. If you have hiking boots, wear them! There were a couple of places on the way down that were a little dodgy.
In winter and spring, you probably need all the gear and unless you’ve got mountaineering experience. To be honest, if you’re not confident, it’s better to avoid this one.
As the name of the track suggests, avalanches are not uncommon from June until November!
Avalanche Peak Track: Route Options
There are two options, either the Avalanche Peak Track which is the standard straight-up-and-down one. Or, you can take on Scotts Track which is a round trip and takes approximately 6 hours. If you have the time, definitely do Scotts Track!
You can park all day for free in the train station car park. Just opposite the train station, you’ll find the Department of Conservation visitor centre.
The Avalanche Peak track starts behind the D.O.C. visitor centre. It’s clearly marked and is a nice steady climb until you reach the top of the bush line.
There’s no chance of getting lost as the Avalanche Peak track is signposted all the way up. It’s also quite a popular route with people from Christchurch coming out for a day trip.
Avalanche Peak Views
Once you reach the top of the bush line you’ll be exposed to your first awesome view, back toward Christchurch.
And, when we got to the top a while later it was one of the best viewpoints I’ve experienced in a while!
The view south is amazing, you start to get a real appreciation for the size of the Southern Alps.
We stayed on Avalanche Peak’s summit and had lunch, before heading back down Scotts Track.
You end up about 600 metres north of the Arthurs Pass township but it’s just a 5-minute stroll back down to your vehicle.
Accommodation near Avalanche Peak
If you’re looking for accommodation while in Arthurs Pass, you might like to stay in one of the DOC campsites located nearby. Check your CamperMate app for options!
The Avalanche Creek Shelter campsite is $6 per night and is right beside the train station. Otherwise, you have the free campsites, Klondyke Corner and Greyneys, located between 6 and 8kms south of the township. Check them out on your CamperMate app and see which one suits you!
We really enjoyed our trip to hike up Avalanche Peak. It’s a great way to get a sample of summertime mountaineering, and the views are totally worth it. Have a look for yourself!