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St Arnaud is a settlement in the Nelson Bays region in the north of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the gateway to the Nelson Lakes National Park. The locality is also known as Lake Rotoiti, which better describes this lakeside community. However, the town's official name remains St Arnaud as Lake Rotoiti (meaning "small lake" in Maori) is the name of a locality in the North Island.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

State Highway 63 leads from Marlborough on the east coast to the West Coast. Traveling east, Picton (1 3/4 hours), Blenheim (1 hour 20 minutes), Renwick (70 minutes) and Wairau Valley township (35 minutes). Traveling west Kawatiri Junction (15 minutes), Murchison (40 minutes) and Westport (2 hours 10 minutes). There are two main ways to get to St Arnaud from Nelson. The quickest is traveling through Richmond and Wakefield on State Highway 6. The turnoff is 10 minutes past Wakefield and St Arnaud is signposted through to the village. The road intersects with State Highway 63 two minutes east of the village. Otherwise, State Highway 6 continues to Kawatiri Junction which is the end of State Highway 63.

By bus[edit]

Nelson Lakes Shuttles run both scheduled and unscheduled services to St Arnaud from Picton, Blenheim, Nelson and other destinations. Specialising in transport for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts, they can pick you up from the end of walking tracks as well as offering a conventional bus service. During the ski season, daily shuttles run from Blenheim, Nelson and Motueka to the Rainbow Ski Field, the turn-off for which is 5 minutes drive from St Arnaud township.

Get around[edit]

Map of St Arnaud (New Zealand)

St Arnaud is small enough to get around by foot. Lake Rotoiti is 5 minutes walk from the shops on the main road. The Department of Conservation visitor information centre is just off the main road west of the shop and is well signposted. There are bushwalks throughout the settlement which are alternatives to taking the road.



  • Go walking in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Walks are available for a few minutes to a couple of weeks.
  • Ski Rainbow, The turnoff to the skifield is 5 minutes south of St Arnaud and is well signposted., +64 3 521 1861, +64 832 22605. Ski and snowboard hire and ski school available. Lift Passes up to $65.
  • The Rainbow Rage. An annual bike ride from St Arnaud to the hot springs of Hanmer Springs scheduled for 15 March 2008. 108 km through spectacular scenery.
  • Trout fishing but clean your fishing gear first![1]
  • Glider Flights, 10km west of St Arnaud on State Highway 63, +64 3 521 1870, . $60 vouchers can be purchased for a flight of up to 15 minutes. Phone +64 3 548 3533 for a voucher
  • Ice Skating. Ask at the Visitor Centre for details.


  • St Arnaud Alpine Store, Main Rd, +64 3 521 1854, fax: +64 3 521 1854. All the necessities including petrol. A few luxuries as well.



The Alpine Lodge is probably your only option.






Go next[edit]

For the adventurous the Rainbow Rd to Hanmer Springs poses a 4WD or mountain bike challenge. For permission (and the gate key) to travel through contact Rainbow Station: Star Holdings Limited +64 3 545 7600, fax +64 3 545 7601. Otherwise the choices are the wine and sun of Marlborough, the art and culture of Nelson or the wet and wild West Coast

This city travel guide to St Arnaud is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.