MOUNT COOK VILLAGE – LAKE TEKAPO – CHRISTCHURCH
Travel distance is approximately 334kms (209 miles).
Allow at least 4.25 hours drive time (not including stops).
Take the time to enjoy the scenic highlights on the last day of your self-drive South Island trip as you head back to Christchurch city.
Prepare for a day of lovely road-side scenery such as the stunning turquoise colour of Lake Pukaki, golden tussock land, picturesque lakes, winding rivers and the impressive Canterbury Plains as you follow State Highway 79 from Lake Tekapo before hitting the main route of State Highway 1.
Some notable stops along the route to Christchurch include:
Located in the heart of the South Island, the highland lake and settlement is a great place to enjoy some time on your journey back to Christchurch. Enjoy views of Lake Tekapo and its beautifully unique turquoise colour while enjoying brunch or lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants, or you can always grab some fresh delights from the bakery and sit beside the lake.
LAKE TEKAPO ICE SKATING
The artificial ice rink at Lake Tekapo Winter Park is available for public skating, ice hockey and curling from April until mid September. Hire a pair of ice skates and enjoy skating under the crisp winter blue sky.
ALPINE SPRINGS & SPA
Located in Lake Tekapo, choose from three outdoor adjoining main Hot Pools ranging in temperature from 40 degrees C to 36 degrees C. Each pool takes the shape of a lake in the area and has enched seating around the edges so you can sit back, relax and soak. Sauna and steam room also available as part of the Alpine Day Spa, where you can enjoy a range of beauty and body treatments.
THE CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Built in 1935 as a memorial to the Mackenzie Country pioneers, the church is one of the most photographed in New Zealand thanks to the quaint design of the church and the stunning lake and alpine background. Located in Lake Tekapo township.
FAIRLIE HERITAGE MUSEUM
Located on the main Fairlie-Tekapo Highway, the Museum houses the old Fairlie Railway Station, the historic Mabel Binney Cottage and a wide array of vintage tractors, farm implements and horse drawn carriages.
Welcome to the Salmon Capital of New Zealand! You can’t miss the landmark salmon statue and the 1.8km bridge spanning the Rakaia River. The river is considered one of the world’s best examples of a braided river and offers some of the best fishing in the country. Try your hand at a bit of salmon fishing or enjoy the unique art, craft and pottery shops in this rural township. The Rakaia Craft Market runs on the second Sunday of each month from September to March and offers high quality crafts and stalls with something for everyone.
The South Island’s largest city is also known as ‘The Garden City’ and if you visit in Spring or Summer you will understand why. Hagley Park is buried under a sea of daffodils during Spring and colourful public gardens are scattered throughout the inner city.
Christchurch is very visitor friendly and it is easy to navigate around the inner city and botanical gardens on foot, or else hop on the historic Tram which runs a circuit throughout the day past the inner city and popular Arts Centre, Gallery, etc.
Accommodation is plentiful in the city and surrounds, from swanky inner city furnished apartments to motels, quaint B&B’s, luxury hotels and the typical hotel chains.
You wont go hungry when in Christchurch! The Strip and South Of Lichfield (SOL) are both popular areas, which are just restaurants, cafes and bars, while there are many seriously fabulous restaurants boasting an international flavour, from Italian to Mexican, to Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Cajun to name just a few.
Highly recommended Christchurch tourist attractions include…
The Arts Centre – During the weekends you can sample all the international flavours from the different food stalls, including popular and some rarer ethnic culinary delights while strolling amidst the markets, bustling with the sights and sounds of artists, craftspeople, musicians, buskers and more. Situated in the historic buildings of the original Canterbury University College, the Arts Centre is one of Christchurch’s most significant cultural attractions.
Christchurch Gondola – Enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, Lyttelton Harbour and Pacific Ocean.
Christchurch Botanical Gardens – Established back in 1863, today the gardens are a haven for roller blading, walkers, joggers, cyclists and dog walkers! 30 hectares of park-like gardens surrounded by the Avon River and a diverse range of gardens and flowers throughout… and it’s free!
Christchurch Tramway – The ultimate inner city tour that lets you experience the magic of the central city onboard a beautifully restored tram. The 2.5 kilometer track takes about 25 minutes to complete and allows you to take in many of the “must see’ attractions. These include 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.
Punting On The Avon – Sit back and relax custom built punt as your friendly boatman guides you past the sights of the central city as you meander along the Avon River.
Cathedral Square – Located in the heart of the city, the Visitor Information Centre is located in ‘the square’. A multi-cultural feeling exists in this exciting part of town, always popular with tourists and lunch time dwellers. Be entertained by buskers, grab a coffee from Starbucks, or just watch life colourfully go by!
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