Top of the South

None

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

9 DAYS

DISTANCE

749 mi / 1207 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: 3 hours 31 mins, 259 km

Hanmer Springs to Blenheim

About the day

Highlights: Hanmer Springs Village / Nature Walks /

Winery by Bike

Start your day with a gentle stroll through tranquil Hanmer Forest or a relaxing dip in thermal water at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa before heading north to Blenheim. Allow time on your journey as State Highway 1 North of Kaikoura is closed. Arrive into Renwick via State Highway 63 and hire a bike and meander along the ‘golden mile’ and sample world class wines. Refresh and relax at a luxury lodge, country B&B or Blenheim hotel. 


Day Four: 1 min, 1 m

Stay in Blenheim

About the day

Highlights: Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre / Cellar Doors & 

Vineyards / Wildlife

Take a journey through aviation at the world renowned Omaka 

Aviation Centre. With over 30 cellar doors with stunning wines you 

can complete your wine knowledge and join a guided tour. Travel 

onto Picton and join a seafood cruise or visit island sanctuary, meet the wildlife along the way before returning to your accommodation in Blenheim.



Day Five: 1 hour 36 mins, 114 km

Blenheim to Nelson

About the day

Highlights: Havelock Mussel Capital/ Cruise the Kenepuru 

Sound / National WOW Museum

Start your day with a stop at Havelock, catch the mussel boat cruise or mailboat cruise and discover more about the world’s Greenshell TM mussel capital and the Kenepuru Sound. Travel on to Nelson where you can explore the city’s boutiques and galleries. Be inspired at the National WOW Museum and Nelson Classic Car Gallery. Spend your evening admiring the seaviews while dining on fine local cuisine with succulent seafood accompanied by the region’s best wines and craft beers


Day Six: 3 hours 56 mins, 295 km

Nelson to Lake Brunner, Moana

About the day

Highlights: Westport Town / The Great Coast Road / Pancake 

Rocks and Blow Holes / Lake Brunner

Head south from Nelson stopping in at Westport or for a tour with 

UnderWorld Adventures. Continue along The Great Coast Road, 

taking time for a photostop at Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes in 

Punakaiki. Continue south to Greymouth to devour tapas after a 

brewery tour at Monteith’s Brewing Company. Drive inland to settle 

in to your picturesque accommodation in Lake Brunner, Moana

Highlights


Day Seven: 18 mins, 12.9 km

Lake Brunner to Moana

About the day

Highlights: Brunner Mine Site / West Coast Wilderness Trail / 

Shantytown Heritage Park / On Yer Bike / Fishing in Moana

Make Lake Brunner, Moana your base and explore the surrounds. 

Learn about the history of the area at the Brunner Mine Site. Cycle 

the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Greymouth to Shantytown 

Heritage Park and have your photo taken in period costume in the 

historic village. If you prefer 4 wheels on your bike, try On Yer Bike for a muddy adventure. Take a stroll around the Greymouth shops or the lakeside walking tracks. If you prefer a more relaxed day stay and fish for brown trout at Lake Brunner

Highlights


Day Eight: 2 hours 58 mins, 213 km

Moana to Christchurch

About the day

Highlights: Arthur’s Pass National Park / Christchurch / 

International Antarctic Centre

Wake up in Lake Brunner, Moana before departing for Christchurch. 

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. En route don’t miss Arthurs Pass, Castle Hill and Springfield. Arriving in Christchurch, make sure you take time to visit the International Antarctic Centre. Spend a night out dining at one of Christchurch’s many restaurants.


Itinerary Map


About the author

,