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Otira Gorge/Pass photo page

South Island

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Otira Gorge/Pass

The Southern Alps running from the north to the south, practically the entire length of the South Island and separates Westland from Canterbury.
The Otira Gorge/Pass in the Waimakariri River Valley on the west side and the Arthur's Pass on the east side is one of the only three accesses from the East coast to the West Coast, in the South Island.
Before European settlement of New Zealand, the local Maoris used to track through Arthur's Pass to collect greenstone from western river beds.
The first European to find the route through the Southern Alps was Arthur Dobson in 1864.
The Otira is very steep with many rock falls, often making the crossing dangerous.
While the eastern side of the Alps very dry, the western side usually very wet. The railway running from Christchurch in the east to Greymouth in the west and running through a 8.5 km tunnel was the first electrified track in New Zealand.
Near the village of Arthur's Pass is the Arthur's Pass railway station, where the diesel engines change electric ones, for the journey through the tunnel.
In recent years a Transalpine Express used to take tourist through this stunningly beautiful scenery from Christchurch.
Like many other things lack of profitability caused the recent demise of it.
Please check this out as my information might be outdated.
Recently Highway 73 was upgraded by a viaduct through the most dangerous part of the Otira gorge.
Most of the surrounding are is part of a National Park.
There are many popular skifields nearby.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

Otira Gorge/Pass Otira Gorge/Pass

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