Hike the Temple Basin Ski Field

New Zealand Devils Punchbowl Trailhead

Added by Erin Wheat

Incredible 360 degree view's overlooking New Zealand's "Southern Alps", wth a free ski camp to provide place to rest and leave gear. There is the potential for Kea sightings, beautiful waterfalls and you can camp overnight if you choose.

Arthur's Pass National Park is an extraordinary area of New Zealand's South Island, nearly untouched, with accessible trails into the mountain pass, which is part of New Zealand's "Southern Alps". This trail leads into the free ski camp, a basin that allows for good speed and access. The hike gains elevation rapidly and weather dependent can require proper snow and ice attire. The easier aspect of the hike is that it isn't extensive, and the trail is well kept. The older part of the camp is abandoned (very active ski field in the winter), but the shell of the camp could be used for protection for backpackers and campers staying overnight. A totally epic adventure.

It's easy to find, parking is available just off the highway for the pass, and it's know as the "Temple Basin". Note, the trail sign leads you to believe the hike is much shorter than we found it to be, so make sure you give yourself a few hours if you're planning on making it a day hike.

Arthur's Pass has a population of about 100 people, and food options are small, but the main lodge has essentially all the snacks and basics you might need after hiking, and you're likely to find good company over a cup of coffee (which by the way is incredible if you aren't familiar with New Zealand coffee) and probably fellow hikers.

If you want to stay in Arthurs Pass and explore the hikes, back-country, skiing and have a stab at seeing the elusive NZ bird the Kiwi, I highly recommend Snowy Cabin (it has a lot of names). It's the green cabin to the right side of town as you're leaving town. It's reasonably priced, sleeps 4 and has everything you would need to stay for a few days.

Pack List

  • Photography Gear
  • Tripod
  • Camping gear (if necessary)
  • Water
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Extra Socks
  • Warm Clothes- Layers
  • Snow gear
  • Ski/Snowboard
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography, Skiing, Snowboarding

Skill Level:



Year Round




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How to Get There

5 months ago

Great views

It was a bit of a climb heading up. Quite honestly no reprieve from the straight up hill climb until you get to the top. It isn't long, but it sure gains elevation. Having said that being able to look around from the top of the Ridgeline is pretty fantastic. Worth doing for a half-day hike for sure

5 months ago

Added by Erin Wheat

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