After leaving Arthurs Pass, heading towards Christchurch, State Highway 73 leaves the central ranges of the southern Alps and crosses the wide Waimakariri River valley. This river, like others that flow east from the Southern Alps, is a wide braided river, with multiple channels flowing through gravel flats. Despite the river, the area is also noticeably drier, with the alps creating a rain shadow to their east.

Crossing the valley, the road is almost facing south, so it’s perfect for early morning and evening photos. There are plenty of safe roadside viewpoints. This includes the main bridge and a section of the road as it rises above the river towards Goldney Saddle.

We went through in summer but a fine winter’s day is probably the best time to go, with the South Island’s iconic snowy peaks.

9 images

We're on Instagram

Follow Trip Ideas for more great content like this