The highest alpine track running 900 meters high through the Southern Alps in the Southern Island unites Canterbury with the West Coast. It strikes its visitors with stunning views on numerous river beds, green valleys, rock shelters, viaducts, waterfalls, bridges and railways crossing the mountains. The Otira Bridge and Castle Hill are considered the highlights of the route. The path is available throughout the year, but the best season to set off and enjoy the picturesque landscapes is warm summer time. Alpine winters tend to be extremely cold and with the risk of avalanches, whereas spring and autumn are dangerous due to snow meltings. Other summer benefits include dense alpine vegetation and nice birdwatching opportunities, in particular, inquisitive kea parrots.
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