After a couple of days in Christchurch (blog still to come since we visited twice) we headed west via Arthurs Pass. On the outskirts of Christchurch do a little detour (depending on where you start) by the Cookie Time factory to stock up on sweet snacks to get you through the many hikes on the South Island.
Next stop, more food, at the World Famous Sheffield Pies in Sheffeild, yes that’s the name, for a late breakfast. It’s well worth the stop for a yummy pie, or two, and coffee, just take care with parking as it can be quite busy and dangerous.
About an hour and a half out of Christchurch, if not stopping, is Castle Hill Conservation Area (Kura Tawhiti). A 20-minute loop trail leads you through the limestone rocks. Be sure to apply the sunscreen before starting, even though it may feel cold the sun beats down here.
There’s numerous pull-offs, look-outs and trails on while crossing the pass, if you are planning to do them all allow plenty of time, or a night at Arthurs Pass itself.
Otira viaduct lookout
Probably one of the under-rated stops but allows a great view down the Otira River.
Our last stop on the crossing, but first stop on the west coast was Hokitika. A small beach side town that is super friendly and sells a lot of greenstone. If you are after some carved greenstone to remember your trip by this is the place to buy it.