Touring routes

Christchurch to Nelson

Best to do this trip in the Winter for snow capped mountains. Plenty of photo opportunities on the TranzAlpine!

Category
Train/Self-drive
Duration
3 days 2 nights
Distance
550 mi/886 km
Best time
Winter

Christchurch to Greymouth

5 hours, 244 km

Take the wonderful TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth and pre-book your hire car so you can explore the surrounding Grey Valley adventure activities, heritage attractions and guided nature tours.

Cycle the easy West Coast Wilderness Trail or visit Shantytown, a replica of an 1880's gold town. Get muddy on a quad bike tour, go glow worm caving, enjoy one of the multitude of local walking tracks.

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Greymouth to Westport

1 hour 28 mins, 101 km

The Great Coast Road is one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet. It takes you alongside the ancient limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park and is home to the world's smallest penguin.

Punakaiki is world famous for its pancake rocks, blowholes and yes they really do look like giant pancakes. Take a torch for the caves.

Experience underground rafting at Charleston, caving at Fox River which is north of Punakaiki and is the start of a very interesting track to the Fox River Cave and the impressive Ballroom Overhang.

Head on to Westport, well known for its rich coal mining history.

Visit the Oparara limestone arches in Karamea and Kahurangi National Park, experiencing the noisy bluster of the seal colony at Cape Foulwind, or the beauty of Carters Beach near Westport. You could even try and stay on a surf board with an amazing teacher at Bazil’s Surf school.

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Westport to Nelson

3 hours 3 mins, 222 km

Before heading to Nelson swing by the Buller Gorge Swing bridge which is New Zealand’s longest swing bridge, and stands a clear 17 metres above the Buller River and spans 110m.

Other activities include numerous walks from 15 minutes to an hour, the 40-minute Buller Canyon Jet, ‘Supaman’ rides and the Flying Fox (zipline) across the river.

From there your travels take you toward the Nelson/Marlborough region.

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