Your privately chartered bus will leave St Margaret’s (convention venue) at 8:00 am heading west across the rural landscape of the Canterbury Plains. Winding our way up and over Porter’s Pass (939m) our first stop of the day will be at the Kura Tāwhiti Conservation Area.
Kura Tāwhiti, also known as Castle Hill, is a stunning area popular with both locals and tourists. Well known for its interesting landforms, the area was once under a large, shallow inland sea that began to infill some 30 million years ago. Pressure over time caused extensive uplift and folding and faulting of the Torlesse and Craigieburn Ranges. Thrust up from their origin, the limestone rock was eroded by water into distinctive sculptured landforms, called a karst landscape. This area has special significance to Ngāi Tahu, with ties that stretch unbroken from distant ancestors to present generations. Kura Tāwhiti literally means “the treasure from a distant land”, referring to the kumara that was once cultivated in this region.
Wander amongst the rocks or walk up the various tracks to gain an overview of the valley. Photographic opportunities are all around at this natural playground.
The tour then continues along SH73 passing Lake Pearson before crossing the Waimakariri River and arriving at Arthur’s Pass National Park. Arthur’s Pass is an area of stunning natural beauty, whatever the weather, with the mountain ranges climbing steeply on both sides of the valley. A popular stop for tourists driving through to the West Coast as well as those travelling on the Tranzalpine Scenic Railway – Arthur’s Pass is on the main divide.
Several walks are available to nearby waterfalls including the Devil’s Punchbowl, a thundering 131m drop from a hanging valley. If the steep climbing track doesn’t appeal, visit Avalanche Creek Falls instead (several options available to view) or head towards the Bridal Veil Falls lookout by way of the popular Arthur’s Pass Walking Track that takes you through diverse alpine vegetation.
The nearby Bealey Chasm is a popular spot for photography, and speaking of popular, the local kea population are likely to make an appearance – most likely while enjoying a spot of lunch in the park.
The walk up to and amongst the rocks at Castle Hill, and the path up to the Devil’s Punchbowl falls require a reasonable degree of fitness, please consider this when booking.
Depart: 8:00 am
Return: 4:00 pm
Please note, in the event that there are insufficient registrations for a specific Field Trip, we may offer you the opportunity to join one of the other trips or in the worst-case refund your field trip ticket.
Rest assured we will do everything to make sure they run, and we’re confident that they will be great experiences for those able to take the opportunity to join us exploring the greater Canterbury area.