Touring routes

Queenstown to Christchurch

A breathtaking road trip from Queenstown to Christchurch via the West Coast, have your camera ready!

Category
Self-drive
Duration
4 days,3 nights
Distance
454 mi/731 km
Best time
Anytime

Day 1: Queenstown to Haast

2 hours 57 mins, 206 km

Drive from Queenstown to Haast via State Highway 6. This is a great scenic drive and enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage Area. Haast is West Coast Whitebait country, we recommend staying here for the night!

From Haast to Jackson Bay there are empty shingle beaches, dunes, lakes and wetlands, all with the soaring backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Tramping, hunting and if you want speed, jet boating tours with Waiatoto River Safari or Haast River Safari on the local rivers are available. There is an abundance of wildlife and tours to view fur seals, Hectors Dolphins and Fiordland Crested Penguins.

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Day 2: Haast to Fox Glacier

1 hour 32 mins, 121 km

Fox Glacier village has a relaxed, quaint village feel. Home to the Fox Glacier, it offers a range of adventure activities as well as access to some of the West Coast's most scenic spots.

The ‘must do’ walk is Lake Matheson. This is the most photographed lake in New Zealand with good reason. Carry on down the road to Gillespies Beach.

Bruce Bay - or Mahitahi - is a small coastal settlement with stunning sea vistas and a wonderfully wild windswept beach, 40km south of Fox Glacier and 80 km from Haast.

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Day 3: Fox Glacier to Kumara

2 hours 29 mins, 185 km

Ōkārito and Whataroa are a 'must-explore' for nature and wildlife lovers. Okarito is definitely worth a stop – NZ’s largest unmodified wetland –and a bird watchers paradise! Hire a kayak or grab a boat tour.

Down the road you will come to Ross, famous for being the spot where New Zealand’s largest ever gold nugget was unearthed - the “Roddy Nugget”, weighing a massive 3.1kg.

Hire a gold pan to try your hand at the Ross Goldfields Information Centre. Then take a drive to West Coast Treetop Walk & Cafe. An exhilarating tree top adventure among temperate rainforest giants waits for you.

Hokitika was once a Goldfields Capital and Port. Visit the Museum, view artisans working gold, pounamu, precious stones, wood, metals and glass.

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Day 4: Kumara to Christchurch

3 hours 0 mins, 219 km

Continue through to Canterbury and drive through Arthur’s Pass.

Arthur’s Pass National Park is in the heart of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. It's high mountains with large scree slopes, steep gorges and wide braided rivers straddle the main divide, and are the ‘back bone’ of the South Island. A spectacular journey!

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