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New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 229kms (143 miles).
Allow at least 3 hours drive time (not including stops).

After a relaxing evening in Hanmer Springs start your morning off with a lovely forest walk or perhaps a soak in the hot pools before a delicious brunch in one of the cafes before packing up your vehicle and finding yourself ‘back on the road’.

Your journey today will take you further inland where the scenery will change to provide some great photo opportunities. Large Beech forests and stunning national parks will provide the backdrop for your trip today as you travel over the Lewis Pass and through the areas of Springs Junction, Maruia, Paenga and Murchison on route to St Arnaud.

Some notable stops along the route to St Arnaud include:

This is the mountain pass that traverses the pass on its route between North Canterbury and the West Coast. The extensive unmodified beech forest provides some unique photo opportunities. The Lewis Pass is a popular place for trampers due to the number of good tramping routes in the area, including the St James Walkway.

Nestled beside the Maruia River in a sheltered valley in the Lewis Pass is where you will find this natural thermal wonderland. This tourist mountain hideaway offers individual thermal hot pools and spas plus a traditional Japanese bathhouse. There is also a cafe plus accommodation on site.

This is a great place to base yourself for an outdoor holiday, and is also a popular rest stop for travellers to stretch their legs and have some food! Murchison sits on Buller Gorge Heritage Highway and is within easy reach of Nelson Lakes National Park and Kahurangi National Park. The region is also a world-renowned centre for white water rafting and kayaking.

This is New Zealand’s longest swing bridge and you can walk it or catch the flying fox across the Buller River. Located 14 kilometres west of Murchison it is worth the slight detour!

Located in the same location as the Swingbridge, here is your chance to enjoy the high speed of a 160m flying fox as you ride high about the might Buller River!

The Buller Gorge Heritage Park is just a short detour west of Murchison and worth a visit! Learn the art of gold panning with expert tuition before panning some special ‘dirt’ for some gold. You can also go down to the Buller River and pan for as long as you like… and whatever you find you keep!

The alpine resort township of St Arnaud is the gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park. The area boasts two ski areas, two fabulous lakes, forests and water activities, making it a fun place for outdoor lovers to enjoy a weekend away, or in your case, an evening away!

The accommodation choices in the area are growing, including the Alpine Lodge, Nelson Lakes Motel along with Bed & Breakfast, Farmstay and Homestay accommodation.

Dining options are pleasantly surprising in the village with a couple of cafes as well as the Alpine Lodge Restaurant for relaxed, friendly breakfast and evening a la carte dining. The St Arnaud Alpine Store is the resort’s village shop and is open 7 days for petrol, groceries, takeways and off-licence liquor.

Highly recommended St Arnaud tourist attractions include…

Lake Rotoiti – Located a short distance from St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti is part of the Nelson Lakes National Park and is a popular lake for trout fishing and short walks. A lovely spot for a ‘driver reviver’ break on your journey, there are plenty of scenic bush and forest walks around the lake, ranging from 15 minute Bellbird walk to 45 minute and 1 hour walks. Make sure you explore the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project.

Guided Wilderness Walks – Southern Wilderness offer 2 popular guided walk packages in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Guided tours return each day to St Arnaud.

Scenic Lake Cruise – Enjoy a personalised leisurely cruise to suit your schedule and budget as you cruise the lake learning about it’s features and history.

Guided Fishing Trip – Enjoy year-round guided fishing for Brown Trout aboard a powered vessel as you troll for fish. Trips recommend early morning or in the evening.

Rainbow Ski Field – Operating yearly from mid July until Mid October, Rainbow Ski Area offers ski-ing and snow boarding for beginners to advanced. Other facilities include cafe, ski and snowboarding rentals, clothing shop, ski and snowboard school plus great lifts and tows.

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