Avalanche Peak, Arthur’s Pass National Park. By Max Groer
Arthur’s Pass Village is widely known as an adventure location and a scenic stop on the route from coast to coast. Busy cafés and short walks attract tourists, however. Avalanche Peak is the place to be. With the highway and alpine village out of sight far below, stop, pause and appreciate the stillness and grandeur.
Avalanche Peak Track starts in the village as a steady and sometimes scrambly rough path that zig-zags upwards. It goes past the bushline and along a ridge with a series of exposed sections and steep scree slopes that lead down to the valley.
At the junction of Avalanche Peak Track and Scotts Track, you’re tantalisingly close to the summit. A knife-edge ridge leads to a popular lunch spot at the summit with panoramic views of Mt Rolleston and other impressive mountains. With a little luck, there’ll be a circus of kea putting on a show.
As you descend Scotts Track, the views are captivating. Within 30 minutes, the track grows rougher and passes tussock-lined bluffs. Drop offs and steep gullies carpeted in green catch the afternoon light.
Take care in winter and in poor weather: it’s called Avalanche Peak for a reason.