KAIKOURA – CHRISTCHURCH
Travel distance is approximately 184kms (115 miles).
Allow at least 2.25 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Alpine Pacific Triangle touring route.
Enjoy the last day of your self-drive journey along this fabulous part of the South Island as you wave goodbye to the beautiful East Coast and head inland towards Christchurch, New Zealand’s ‘Garden City’.
From rugged coastal ranges and thundering seas, to fascinating cliff formations, rolling farmland and extensive vineyards and olive groves, today you get to experience a titbit of all the best New Zealand scenery on offer!
The Alpine Pacific Triangle touring route is well signposted and will lead you on a wonderful visual journey back into Christchurch city.
Some notable stops along the route to Christchurch include:
Located in the heart of a pastoral farming area, Cheviot is a lovely rural stop to have a ‘driver reviver’. Enjoy a coffee or fresh baking at the local cafe or enjoy a picnic at St Anne’s Lagoon wildlife reserve.
Take a detour from Cheviot along the Gore Bay Tourist Drive to the great swimming and surf beaches of Gore Bay. The Cathedral Cliffs are also worth a drive to see and a great photo opportunity.
Located just south of Cheviot, Domett is named after a past politician and former Premier of New Zealand who emigrated from England in 1842. If you are a rail buff or interested in New Zealand rail history then you will enjoy visiting the Mainline Station Cafe, which is located in the Domett Railway Station (which dates back to 1907). The station was restored in the 1990’s and now contains years of authentic New Zealand railway memorabilia.
Considered one of New Zealand’s finest wine regions, the Waipara Valley is only 45 minutes North of Christchurch and offers a wonderful array of vineyards and wineries. The region specialises in unique richer, spicier pinot noirs and Rieslings, however the area also produces terrific Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. There are some fabulous vineyards to enjoy a delicious lunch, including the huge Mud House winery and award winning Pegasus Bay winery.
WEKA PASS RAILWAY
This is a historic rural railway using both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives on 12.8 km of scenic line through the unique limestone beauty of the Weka Pass. Located at Waipara, public trains run every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, every Sunday in January and most public holidays.
Welcome to the South Island’s largest city and the perfect base for your South Island holiday. Christchurch city is renowned for its unique mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement.
Christchurch has something for everyone, from serious shoppers to art enthusiasts, to heritage buffs and party animals! It’s all right here in the Garden City.
No matter where you chose to stay for the evening, you will not have any problem finding accommodation to suit your tastes or budget. Perhaps you are going to splurge out on your ‘last night’ with a luxury suite in an inner city hotel, or relax in a historic country bed & breakfast? Affordable self-contained inner city apartments, motels and holiday parks are also easily located within the city and surrounds.
In regard to dining options… you will find it all here. Every type of cooking style can be found within the city.
Highly recommended Christchurch tourist attractions include…
Christchurch Tram – Experience the heritage of riding in a restored heritage tram while traveling around the central city’s historic buildings and top attractions. The 2.5km track takes approximately 25 minutes and allows you to take in many of the “must see’ attractions such as Cathedral Square, Aquarium of Discovery, The Arts Centre, The Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Punting on the Avon, New Regent Street and Cathedral Junction.
The Arts Centre – This vibrant and exciting part of the city offers a huge range of New Zealand made art and crafts, shopping, education and entertainment, including the famous weekend Art, Craft and Produce Market. With over 40 specialty shops, fine art galleries, world-class theatre, art house cinemas, bars, restaurants and cafes, this is a popular place for tourists and locals to spend an afternoon.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens – Founded in 1863 with the planting of an English Oak tree, the Gardens now features one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand. Located in the heart of the city, enjoy the tranquil oasis of 21 hectares of beautiful horticultural displays, several conservatories, memorials, garden art and walking tracks. All for free!
Cathedral Square – Located in the city centre and easy to spot thanks to the large piece of modern sculpture called The Chalice, this is the heart of the city and a great place to watch buskers, have a coffee from Starbucks or book your tours at the Visitor Information Centre.
International Antarctic Centre – Located across from Christchurch’s International Airport, visitors to the centre can enjoy a truly powerful, exciting and interactive experience of Antarctica. From the feeding of the live Penguins to a Hagglund Ride, this is the place to experience snow and ice and all things totally cool!
Punting on the Avon – Enjoy a 30 minute guided punt tour as you relax in the velvet cushions of your boat on the Avon River as the Edwardian punter propels you past the trailing willows and leafy banks of the prettiest stretch of the Avon River.
Canterbury Museum – Located beside the Botanical Gardens and a short stroll from The Arts Centre, the museum is open every day (except Christmas Day) and admission is by donation only. Enjoy a free guided tour around the museum or spend hours exploring the treasure trove of riches.
New Zealand Itineraries: South Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Franz Josef – Wanaka, Wanaka – Mt Cook and Mt Cook – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – St Arnuad, St Arnuad – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Queenstown, Queenstown – Dunedin, Dunedin – Oamaru and Oamaru – Christchurch
- 7 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercargill, Invercargill – Stewart Island, Stewart Island – Te-anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown and Queenstown – Christchurch
- 8 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – Wanaka, Wanaka – Queenstown, Queenstown – Te Anau, Te Anau – Dunedin and Dunedin – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercragill, Invercargill – Te Anau, Te Anau Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo and Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Omarama, Omarama – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Haast, Haast – Greymouth and Greymouth – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Takaka, Takaka – Motueka, Motueka – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 11 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Milford Sound – Queenstown, Queenstown – Wanaka, Wanaka – Franz Josef, Franz Josef – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch