Otira, Arthur'a Pass, West Coast  Tourism West Coast

The Great Alpine Highway

The Alpine Pacific Triangle combines some of New Zealand’s premier tourist attractions, all within 2 hours drive of each other.  Beginning in the Waipara Wine Region, the Alpine Pacific Triangle heads along the coast to the eco-tourism destination of Kaikoura, or inland to New Zealand’s leading thermal resort – Hanmer Springs.

Christchurch & Canterbury Plains

Heading west from Christchurch, the unmistakeable Canterbury Plains  become apparent. West Melton is the first of a collection of small, quiet towns on this route that epitomise rural New Zealand. The route begins to track that of the famous TranzAlpine train before reaching the towns of Kirwee and Darfield.

Porters Pass & Ski Areas

Dubbed ‘The Gateway to the Southern Alps’, Springfield is popular with passing skiers. Nearby Porters Pass is home to six popular ski areas, picturesque Castle Hill village, Cave Stream, Craigieburn Forest Park & the unusual Castle Hill rock formations - all worth a stop.

Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass Village, in the beautiful Arthur's Pass National Park, is an ideal stop-off point - whether for a few minutes or a few days. Stretch your legs on one of the area's many fabulous bush and alpine walks. Enjoy the fresh mountain air, laugh at the cheeky local keas or visit one of the few eateries in the tiny village.

The West Coast

Dropping down from Arthur’s Pass, you travel over Otira Viaduct - a major engineering feat – and through the tiny settlements of Otira & Jacksons. From here, the famous rainforests of the West Coast become increasingly noticeable as the road travels on to Kumara, tracking the Taramakau River and its valleys of native bush, waterfalls and rugged terrain.

 Avon River, cherry blossom and the tram  Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism



 Castle Hill with a snowy backdrop, Canterbury.  Amelia Norman


  Otira, Arthur's Pass National Park.  Tourism West Coast



 A seascape on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.  Northern West Coast Tourism

Route Map

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Route Facts

  • Approx. 255km long
  • One way
  • Start: Christchurch or Kumara
  • End: Kumara or Christchurch
  • Scenery, history, national park, adventure, walks

Other Touring Routes