Location / Nearby Otira Viaduct Lookout
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Image Otira Viaduct Lookout
Good views on a nice day
Great place to stop to take in the great views of the viaduct and surrounding area. I remember traveling many times on the old road through the gorge and the zig zag tight corners, fun times! The road to the parking area is part of the old road and once parked up, you can see where it used to go. There is big boulders blocking the way and is overgrown but it gives you a sense of where it used to go. You may encounter a kea or two at the lookout if you’re lucky. Best seen on a nice day. If you keep going West bound there is another place to stop to take in another section of the road that has a waterfall going over the road.
The tour features the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch and we were also driven around in a group with AATKings to appreciate the scenery.
DON’T FEED THE BIRDS
Don’t feed the birds guys. Everyone knows this is a spot where Kea like to hang out, and it’s amazing to see them! They’re so inquisitive and can get really close to people, so there’s a temptation to throw some food out to get that Instagram-worthy photo. But it’s killing them. Birds aren’t meant to eat human foods, they’re too salty and fatty for them and it causes a lot of health problems. It also makes them lose their fear of humans so they’re more likely to be injured by people, dogs and cars. Please don’t feed them and if you see anyone feeding them, ask them to stop!
I did see Kea here, my only close encounter with these amazing birds. They’re more active late afternoon, and they came very close to me, and yes they did nibble my car a bit. Nice views of the viaduct, amazing views of the birds if you’re there at the right time of day.
If you are heading west this is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs, before crossing the viaduct.
Pull over for the view and photos
If you’re travelling Arthur’s Pass, you’ll be on the Viaduct. Be sure to pull off to appreciate the view and construction.
Come for the view, stay for the keas
Traveling down the west side of Arthur’s Pass, we stop for a look at the new viaduct through the Otira Gorge, built 20 years ago to replace a tortuous road along the clifftops. We have our first wildlife encounter there: it’s the kea, the only parrot in the world that lives in alpine elevations. They are an endangered species, and it is partly their own fault. They are attracted to humans and try to filch bits of food, which of course encourages humans to feed them, which does them no good. The population is being closely monitored, and we note the ID bands on their legs.
View map go to Otira Viaduct Lookout