St Arnaud is a settlement in Nelson Tasman. St Arnaud 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 (literally small lake in Maori) is the name of a locality in New Zealand's North Island.
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.
Nelson Lakes Shuttles run both scheduled and unscheduled services to St Arnaud from Picton, Blenheim, Nelson and other destinations. Specalising in transport for hikers and other out door enthusiasts, they can pick you up from the end of walking tracks as well as offering a conventional bus service. Southern Link K Bus operates a daily shuttle between Christchurch and Nelson via Murchison and St Arnaud. During the ski season, daily shuttles run from Blenheim, Nelson and Mouteka to the Rainbow Ski Field, the turn-off for which is 5 minutes drive from St Arnaud township.
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.
The Alpine Lodge is probably your only option.
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 03 545 7600, fax 03 545 7601. Otherwise the choices are the wine and sun of Marlborough, the art and culture of Nelson or the wet and wild West Coast