Nowhere else can you drive so high & close to a mountainous alpine region that with a short, easy 1.5 hour walk has you among the biggest collection of alpine plants in one area. Marvel at the huge granite slabs and landforms.
The access road to Mount Arthur – the second highest mountain in Kahurangi National Park – climbs to almost 1,000 metres and is an awesome activity on its own, affording marvellous views and hinting at what is to follow.
The walk starts with a moderate tramp through towering beech forest to reach the alpine region. During the morning an ever improving and diverse birdlife becomes apparent with Kea, Weka often as low as the carpark then bellbird, the tiny rifleman, tomtit and the fearless bush robin entertain all thanks to the volunteer group Friends of Flora and their trapping programme.
Mid-way up the forest dramatically changes perhaps due to a mineral belt, into predominantly dragon trees or mountain neinei. This is a hugely interesting forest and quite from another world, before returning to beech forest prior to emerging into the alpine region.
Weather conditions and or fitness may determine how far we proceed but within minutes giant granite slabs are reached offering spectacular 360 degree views and hidden amongst these and in crevices is the biggest selection of alpine plants to be found in one area in New Zealand.
This part of Kahurangi National Park is one of New Zealand’s most interesting for visitors, with its impressive mountain and bush scenery, remarkable botany and geology and interesting human stories.
The Mount Arthur area has many special geological features. Nowhere else in New Zealand has such a complex series of ancient rocks been eroded into such a distinctively different landscape.