This was my second trip to New Zealand, my first having been almost 13 years earlier. On that trip, I visited both the North and South Islands. On this trip, I was in a more frugal mode, and decided to focus on one place: Arthurs Pass National Park. I hadn't gotten there on my first trip, and I knew it had a lot of hiking of different types. At the end of the trip, I visited my friend from my youth in Santa Monica, Walter, who lives with his family in Auckland.

Avalanche Peak is one of the most popular dayhikes in Arthurs Pass National Park and is sometimes listed as the best dayhike on the South Island. But it is not trivial It gains over 3000 feet in a few miles. There are two trails: Avalanche Peak and Scotty's Trail. The latter is slightly less steep. So many folks hike up Avalanche Peak trail and down Scotty's.

The Mountain House hostel was my home in between hikes.

A collection of waterfalls next to the lower part of the trail.





A steeper section of the trail with the ubiquitous orange pointers.

Looking south down the Bealey Valley.

Hiking above the bush line.

Looking north, where the road crosses Arthurs Pass.

Looking east, with Arthurs Pass Village below.

Hiking up through the grass with the pole markers.

The final section of the hike up.

Mt. Rolleston is just north of Avalanche Peak, and hundreds feet taller.

Keas are alpine parrots, very common in these parts, but not so much elsewhere in New Zealand. They are quite inquisitive, and also looking for things to steal.


You can download a 17MB film of this kea here if you have a fast internet connection.

A panorama of shots.

Close to the summit.


Back near the bottom, waterfalls across the canyon.

Continue to part 2 (of 7) - Temple Basin.