Ocean - Alpine- Sea

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Mountains, forests and beaches, wildlife, art and wine meet to create magic at the Top of the South Island. We invite you to discover some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring scenery, encounter fascinating people, and enjoy exceptional food and wine.
CATEGORY

SELF-DRIVE

DURATION

5 DAYS

DISTANCE

594 mi / 956 km

BEST TIME

ANY


Day One: 2 hours 32 mins, 182 km

Christchurch to Kaikoura

About the day

Highlights: Christchurch Botanic Gardens / Waipara Valley 

Vineyards / Coastal Scenery 

Start your day by exploring the Botanic Gardens in the beautiful 

Garden City of Christchurch before you travel northward through 

the Waipara Valley, one of New Zealand’s finest wine areas. Stop in at one of the wineries along the way to sample the award-winning Pinot Noir and Riesling. Continue your journey through the charming landscape of rolling hills and farmland and pause in the friendly rural town of Cheviot for a tasty snack at one of the cafes. Wind through the hills and enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains meeting the sea before arriving in Kaikoura.


Day Two: 1 hour 55 mins, 131 km

Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs

About the day

Highlights: Coastal Scenery / Mount Lyford / 

Hanmer Springs Village

Kick off your day with one of Kaikoura’s unique activities: whale watch 

by boat or plane, swim with dolphins, kayak with the seals, quad bike 

or enjoy a stroll along the beach. Continue your journey through to 

Hanmer Springs following the Alpine Pacific Triangle Touring Route 

passing through Mt Lyford, New Zealand’s only log cabin village. The 

Inland Road is extremely scenic so take your time and watch for great 

photo stops. Hanmer Springs - New Zealand’s Alpine Spa Village - has 

several day spas, an array of boutique shops along with a range of 

eateries and walking and mountain bike tracks to explore. 


Day Three: 2 hours 55 mins, 216 km

Hanmer Springs to Westport

About the day

Start the day with a delicious breakfast and a gentle stroll through 

the forest or to the top of Conical Hill before departing for Westport. 

Get a final natural thermal water fix at Maruia Hot Springs or stop 

in at Reefton, a living historic town, with great cafes, mountain bike tracks and an interesting museum. Drive through the scenic Buller Gorge before arriving into Westport where you can meet the local Coasters with Out West Tours or have an adventure and be in awe of the galaxy of glow worms with UnderWorld Adventures.


Highlights


Day Four: 1 hour 23 mins, 95.7 km

Westport to Karamea to Westport

About the day

Take a tour with The Oparara Experience through the Kahurangi 

National Park, looking at the extinct moa birds’ home, cave systems and limestone archways - this is a West Coast MUST DO. Take in the view from the Denniston Plateau and learn about the untamed environment the pioneers of the area endured while mining for coal, for more information visit the CoalTown Museum in Westport. Finish the day by watching the sun setting with the seals at Cape Foulwind.

Highlights


Day Five: 4 hours 26 mins, 332 km

Westport to Christchurch

About the day

Highlights: Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes / Lake Brunner / 

Shantytown Heritage Park / Arthur’s Pass National Park

Head South along The Great Coast Road, one of the Top 10 Coastal 

Drives in the world. On your journey visit Punakaiki’s famous Pancake 

Rocks and Blow Holes or take time to explore Greymouth’s historic 

village of Shantytown. Head inland for a stop at Lake Brunner, Moana 

and grab a bite to eat. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery from the 

West Coast’s untamed natural wilderness, through to the mighty 

Southern Alp’s and over the braided rivers and patchwork Canterbury 

Plains before arriving into the city of Christchurch.

Highlights


Itinerary Map


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