Proposal to turn village into alpine resort town

A new report suggests transforming Arthur’s Pass village into an alpine resort town to broaden...
A new report suggests transforming Arthur’s Pass village into an alpine resort town to broaden the village’s appeal and so it could play a more significant role in both conservation and tourism in the South Island. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A new report commissioned by the Department of Conservation suggests transforming Arthur’s Pass Village into an alpine resort town featuring an eco-lodge, hot pools and interactive visitor centre.

The report by Stafford Strategy proposes an eco-style accommodation facility with up to 80 rooms, to broaden the village’s appeal, located on private or KiwiRail land.

It also suggests an enhanced camping ground at Klondyke Corner operated by Doc, as well as a new visitor experience centre, additional food and beverage outlets, improved walking trails and tramping tracks and even night sky tours and experiences.

With about 165 rain days each year, offering indoor experiences is a key focus of the report.

The current visitor centre is earthquake prone and closed, and operating out of temporary premises.

A new discovery centre with virtual reality could bring to life the unique fauna and flora of the region, extinct wildlife (Haast eagle etc), the Cobb & Co stagecoach adventures and iwi routes to access West Coast pounamu.

"A separate hot pools and wellness hub is suggested to encourage longer length of visitor stay and greater visitor appeal. This facility is expected to be highly appealing to a day visitor market coming for day walks and both passive and active adventure experiences," the report said.

It could boost the gateway to various West Coast destinations and even become an international visitor hub for walks.

Arthur’s Pass Village was in a "five-star environment" but offered something "more two or three-star".

The work to re-examine the village started in 2019 with $300,000 of funding from the Government’s international visitor conservation and tourism levy.

Doc said the report indicated Arthur’s Pass and the journey along State Highway 73 could, with the right investment and co-ordination, play a far more significant role in providing benefits for both conservation and South Island tourism — including a role in supporting the West Coast’s economic recovery.

However, Covid-19 meant funding for the next steps was constrained.

Stafford Strategy notes the next steps in this planning work would be to review the proposals from a conservation and iwi perspective.






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