Wellington - 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.

Hiking New Zealand is the best way to see beautiful landscapes and explore some of the vast wilderness areas. So grab a pack and put on your walking boots.

New Zealand has thousands of kilometres of walks covering all kinds of magnificent terrain. Walk for for half an hour, a day, a week or a month! 
 
This itinerary takes you through some of New Zealand great walks through both the North and the South Island.

 

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: Wellington

    Drive Fly

    Visitors arrive in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.  This compact and vibrant city is easily explored by foot.  Discover the distinct city areas with their own personalities and activities:  hip Cuba Street, the bustling Wellington Waterfront, entertainment central at Courtney Place and the sleek cafes and shops on Lambton Quay.

    Recommended activities:

    • Ride the Wellington Cable Car and enjoy magical city views
    • Visit the Carter Observatory and learn about the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere
    • Stroll along Wellington’s waterfront and scenic Oriental Bay
    • Enjoy a meal at one of Wellington’s top quality restaurants or funky eateries
  • Day 2: Wellington

    Drive Fly

    Experience this compact city by foot again.  Consider a guided specialty tour for foodies or history lovers or another interest. Stroll through the Wellington Botanic Garden in the heart of the city.  Visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, or take a guided film tour of Wellington.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3: Wellington - Picton

    Drive Fly 1 hour (by plane) 99 KMS 61 MI
    Fly/drive Wellington to Picton or ferry/drive Wellington to Picton.
     
    Head out of Wellington by ferry and enjoy a scenic ride across Cook Strait through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds to Picton.  This takes approximately 3.5 hours. 
     
    Arrive in the picturesque port of Picton with its main street cafes, museums and seaside walks.  
    Pick up a rental car and drive 30 minutes south to Blenheim, the heart of the wine-growing district of Marlborough.  This region boasts award winning food and wine along with quality craft shops and scenic golf courses.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 4: Picton - Queen Charlotte Track - Picton

    Drive Fly 30 minutes 29 KMS 18 MI

    Drive from Picton to the Queen Charlotte Track.

    Take a day walk on Queen Charlotte Track.  This 71km track is renowned for its stunning views, diverse landscape, historic landmarks, lush native bush and uniquely New Zealand wildlife.  Visitors can walk just a small section of it and still experience many of its natural wonders.

    Recommended activities:

    • Walk or bike a section of Queen Charlotte Track
    • Kayak in Queen Charlotte Sound
    • Fish in Queen Charlotte Sound
    • Go bird watching
  • Day 5: Picton - Nelson

    Drive Fly 1 hour 34 minutes 107 KMS 66 MI

    Pick up a rental car and travel from Picton to Nelson (approximately 2 hours drive).

    Today your clients will drive from Picton to Nelson. This drive takes approximately 2 hours. Nelson is one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand with golden beaches on its doorstep and plenty of action packed activities, including sailing, sky diving and 4WD biking.  For visitors looking for more relaxing pursuits, Nelson is famous for its creativity, attracting artists in every medium and price range.  Browse the galleries and visit the artists’ studios and see them at work.

    Recommended activities:

    Find out more on the Nelson Tasman website

  • Day 6: Nelson – Abel Tasman National Park via Kaiteriteri, Marahau

    Drive Fly 2 HOURS AND 40 MINUTES 180 KMS 111 MI
    Take a trip into stunning Abel Tasman National Park.  Kayak along the coastline, walk along bush clad tracks or take a ride on water taxi out into the park. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Take an independent or guided kayak trip in the park
    • Hike sections of the track
    • Go swimming with the seals in the summer
    • Take a scenic boat cruise or sailing adventure
    Where To Stay
    Overnight in Abel Tasman National Park in a range of options to suit all tastes, from comfort lodges to simple DOC huts. For the very independent client, they can camp in tents under the stars.  
  • Day 7: Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson

    Drive Fly 1 hour and 5 minutes 64 KMS 39 MI
    Optional to get out of Abel Tasman National Park: Water Taxi, Kayak, Walk.
     
    Enjoy another short walk, kayak or boat ride in the morning before heading back into Nelson for the evening.

    Recommended activities:

    • See activities Day 6.
  • Day 8: Nelson to Kaikoura (via Blenheim)

    Drive Fly 2 hours and 53 minutes 243 KMS 150 MI
    Drive from Nelson to Kaikoura (approximately 3.5 hours). Stop in Blenheim for a tasty vineyard lunch or head on to Kaikoura for fresh seafood straight from the sea.
     
    The coastal town of Kaikoura is rich in marine and bird life. Get close to the action with whale watching or swim with the dolphins or seals.  It’s also rich with Maori culture and local guides offer a unique cultural experience on land and on sea.

    Recommended activities:

    • Go whale watching by boat or air
    • Go swimming with dolphins or seals
    • Take a boat trip to  see albatross
    • Take a 4x4 off road adventure through farmland to see beautiful views of Kaikoura
  • Day 9: Kaikoura to Christchurch via Waipara

    Drive Fly 2 hours 17 minutes 182 KMS 113 MI
    Drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch (approximately 2 hours). Stop enroute for lunch at a boutique vineyard in Waipara, New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region, before heading on to Christchurch.
     
    Explore the ever changing city of Christchurch with its quirky pop up shops and bars and bustling farmers markets.  Get a taste of culture with its museums and galleries including the International Antarctic Centre.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 10: Christchurch – Depart New Zealand

    Drive Fly

    Depart New Zealand from Christchurch.