Christchurch - Christchurch

Fly total time: 9 days

Please note: this itinerary has been affected by the recent Kaikoura earthquake. For information on an alternative route, please click here.

Your clients will fly into Christchurch and spend the day exploring this regenerating city. They will then travel north to the charming alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs, where relaxing in the hot pools is a must-do.

Day three sees your clients exploring the marine wonderland of Kaikoura and enjoying fresh and succulent seafood for which the region is known for. Marlborough is the next stop, here you clients can sample award-winning Sauvignon Blanc and explore the stunning waterways of the Marlborough Sounds.

Your clients will marvel at spectacular beaches, coves and inlets in the Abel Tasman National Park, a 50 minute drive from Nelson. Then after travelling down the West Coast of the South Island your clients will board the TranzAlpine train, in Greymouth, and journey back to Christchurch.

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.

New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Day 1: Christchurch

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive in Christchurch. Spend the afternoon exploring the city.
     
    New Zealand’s second biggest city, Christchurch, is regarded as one of the world’s most unique destinations. Witness it as it continues to re-emerge, after earthquakes, as a world-leading, smart city. See urban regeneration and innovation, set within stunning gardens, tradition, and a picturesque backdrop. Discover vibrant new retail, restaurants and creativity. Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island perfectly located for visitors to make the most of a visit to the south.
     

    Recommended activities:

    www.christchurchnz.com 
     
  • Day 2: Christchurch – Hanmer Springs

    Drive Fly 1 hour 40 minutes 133 KMS 82 MI
    Collect a rental vehicle in Christchurch and self-drive to Hanmer Springs, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Stop on route at the Waipara Valley Vineyards. Remember to designate a sober driver if enjoying wine tastings. Spend a relaxing afternoon exploring Hanmer Springs.
     
    Hanmer Springs is a small picturesque alpine village, home to the award-winning Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa – a complex filled with 15 natural thermal pools. Its freshwater activity areas feature hydroslides and New Zealand’s only aquatic thrill ride – the SuperBowl.
     
    Surrounded by forest, Hamner Springs offers boutique shopping, excellent eateries and a huge range of activities, including an extensive network of walking and mountain biking tracks.
     
    Hanmer Springs is located 1 1⁄2 hours’ drive north of Christchurch, 2 hours east of Kaikoura, and 4 hours south of Nelson.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Discover the alpine forest surrounding Hanmer Springs on foot or on two wheels
    • Visit the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and treat yourself to an indulgent spa treatment
  • Day 3: Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura

    Drive Fly 1 hour 45 minutes 131 KMS 81 MI
    After breakfast, drive from Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura, approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. Spend the afternoon viewing marine mammals and sampling delicious seafood for which the region is known for.
     
    Just a 2 and a half hour drive from Christchurch, Kaikoura is located on the Alpine Pacific Touring route, linking it with Hanmer Springs alpine spa village and the Waipara Valley wine region. With a rich ocean environment it’s home to a variety of marine life including seals, dolphins, whales and albatross. This makes Kaikoura an ideal spot for some of New Zealand’s best eco-tourism experiences complemented by fascinating Māori and European histories and a range of exhilarating sea and land-based activities.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy a Whale watching tour, either on the water or in the air
    • Join a tour to swim with dusky dolphins
    • Get up close to a diverse array of seabirds, including albatross, petrels, shearwaters, shags, terns and gulls, on a boat based tour
  • Day 4: Kaikoura – Blenheim (Marlborough)

    Drive Fly 1 hour 30 minutes 128 KMS 79 MI
    Depart Kaikoura in the morning and drive to Blenheim, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. Spend the day exploring Marlborough and possibly enjoy a tipple or two at one of the local vineyards.
     
    Marlborough has long been known for the breath-taking beauty of the Marlborough Sounds and its world class Sauvignon Blanc. With its rugged mountain ranges, fertile plains, intricate waterways, aviation and aquaculture industries, Marlborough has a lot to offer. Marlborough enjoys high sunshine hours and a temperate climate. 
     
    No matter what time of year, Marlborough is a destination for all seasons, tastes and budgets. The main centre Blenheim is located 4 hours’ drive north of Christchurch, 1 3⁄4 hours’ drive north of Kaikoura, and 1 1⁄2 hours’ drive west to Nelson.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 5: Marlborough - Nelson

    Drive Fly 1 hour 25 minutes 114 KMS 70 MI
    Enjoy a relaxing morning discovering the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. In the afternoon drive from Blenheim to Nelson, approximately 1 hour 25 minutes. Arrive in Nelson early evening and enjoy a delicious meal in one of the city’s fine eateries.
     
    The Nelson Tasman region combines the finest elements of New Zealand and delivers them across a stunning landscape, sun-ripened at the perfect latitude under New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours.

    There’s nowhere else in the world where you’ll find within a short distance, three spectacular New Zealand national parks, glistening golden sand beaches and turquoise crystal clear waters, alongside alpine meadows and snowy mountain ranges. Enjoy all year in a climate that rivals the Mediterranean.

    Nelson is located 4 hours’ drive north of Hanmer Springs, and 1 1⁄2 hours’ drive east to Blenheim.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Popular options include walking or biking on the Queen Charlotte Track, and kayaking and cruising around the many spectacular coves and inlets
     
  • Day 6: Abel Tasman National Park

    Drive Fly 1 hour 64 KMS 39 MI
    The spectacular Abel Tasman National Park is located approximately 50 minutes’ drive from Nelson. Enjoy the day exploring this stunning region. In the evening return to Nelson or stay overnight in the park in a beautiful waterfront lodge.

    Recommended activities:

    • Explore Abel Tasman National Park
    • Walk part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Guided options are available
    • Enjoy a kayaking adventure around breath-taking coves and beaches
    • Relax on a cruise or sailing trip around the park's stunning coastline
  • Day 7: Nelson - Westport

    Drive Fly 2 hours 45 minutes 222 KMS 137 MI
    In the morning drive from Nelson to Westport, along The Great Coast Road, approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. 
     
    There are many kilometers of temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, mountain ranges and deserted beaches stretching North to South – the West Coast has many moods.
     
    Native wildlife - from seals and penguins to wood pigeons, white herons and wekas - can all be found along the main routes.
     
    The temperatures are mild to hot in summer and cooler in winter plus the Coast is known to rain a bit at times. There is a huge range of accommodation types plus cafés, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes including a number of Asian eateries.
     
    Greymouth is located 3 ¼ hours’ drive east to Christchurch, 3 1⁄2 hours’ drive north to Nelson, and 2 1⁄2 hours’ drive east to Hanmer Springs.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 8: Westport - Greymouth

    Drive Fly 1 hour 15 minutes 101 KMS 62 MI
    In the morning depart Westport and drive to Greymouth, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Stop on route to admire the Punakaiki Pancake rocks, there may also be time to enjoy a guided tour of the Monteiths Brewery or visit Shantytown. 
     
    After lunch drop off the rental vehicle in Greymouth and step aboard the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s most famous train journeys. Follow the ice-fed Waimakariri River, travel over deep gorges and cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains.
     
    Arrive in Christchurch in the early evening. 
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 9: Christchurch

    Drive Fly 0
    Spend another day exploring Christchurch or fly home from this international gateway.
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