Haast Pass

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Haast.jpg
Gates of Haast

The Haast Pass is a mountain pass in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand. It is named for Julius von Haast, a 19th century explorer who was also geologist for the Provincial government of Canterbury.

It is one of the three passes which have a road (State Highway 6) from the east to the west over the Southern Alps. The other two are the Lewis Pass and Arthurs Pass. The road was converted from a rough track to a formed road in the early 1960s. The road finally received a complete tarmac surface by the early 1990s.

The pass was used by Maori in pre-European times, but not on a regular basis.

The Haast Pass rises to a height of 562 metres above sea level at the saddle between the valleys of the Haast and Makarora Rivers. As such, it is the lowest of the passes traversing the Southern Alps. The Haast Pass road is devoid of any settlements between Haast and Makarora. The road passes through predominantly unmodified beech forest. The pass itself is within the limits of Mount Aspiring National Park and forms part of the boundary between Otago and the West Coast.


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