Touring Routes

Ocean - Alpine- Sea

Mountains, forests and beaches, wildlife, art and wine meet to create magic at the Top of the South Island.




5 days


585 mi / 943 km



Day One

2 hours 22 mins, 181 km

Christchurch to Kaikoura

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 51 mins, 130 km

Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs

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 46 mins, 216 km

Hanmer Springs to Westport

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 OutWest Tours or have an adventure and be in awe of the galaxy of glow worms with UnderWorld Adventures.

Around Westport and Karamea

Day Four

1 hour 26 mins, 94.8 km

Westport to Karamea to Westport

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.

Around Westport and Karamea

Day Five

4 hours 11 mins, 322 km

Westport to Christchurch

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.

Around Punakaiki

Itinerary Map

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