We stayed in a beautiful and unique little Alpine village called Castle Hill. About five minutes before the village is a stunning reserve containing loads of rocks which the kids loved exploring and climbing over.
The area was very popular with loads of other tourists exploring the rock formations.
Luckily the area is still big enough to loose everyone else!
Arthur's Pass itself was something of a disappointment. The drive to it is spectacular but the village itself was full of tourists and trampers and the walk to see the Devils Punchbowl was crowded. (Not in UK terms but busy for NZ). I preferred the less popular walks. As soon as you try the longer walking tracks you loose the other people and once again feel like you alone in the wilderness.
The landscape is beautiful but you need to avoid the tracks that travel near the road as the noise from the passing traffic ruins some of the walks.
Despite the crowds Arthur's Pass is still worth a visit and we will be returning in the winter to see it in the snow.
And the Kea's are awesome. Make sure you stop for coffee in the cafe and meet the Kea's that frequent the local eateries. Just make sure you watch your food. We lost my daughters lolly cake to a sneaky and quick witted Kea!
The Kea is the worlds only Alpine parrot and is only found on the South Island of New Zealand. They are quite rare and it is estimated that there are only around 15000 left in the wild (although I have also read an estimate of only 5000 as it is difficult to accurately calculate exactly how many there are living in this remote region). They are fascinating to watch and very intelligent and inquisitive. It is well worth stopping to have a coffee and lunch with them!