CHRISTCHURCH – DUNEDIN (Via Ashburton, Timaru & Oamaru)

Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 365kms (228 miles).
Allow at least 4.80 hours drive time (not including stops).

Welcome to day 1 of your 7 day ‘deep south’ self-drive tour along this remarkable part of the lower South Island.

This trip promises plenty of mountain scenery and wonderful eco experiences to be enjoyed. From the historic architecture and spectacular albatross of Otago to The Catlins in the ‘wild south’ and onto the untouched beauty and tranquillity of Stewart Island, home of the Kiwi bird. Don’t forget there will be plenty of waterfalls and sea life to be explored as you cruise along the Milford Sound before the magical journey back to Christchurch city.

Some notable stops along the route to Dunedin include:

Located 50km’s south of Christchurch, the rural community of Rakaia is considered New Zealand’s best fly-fishing location. During November to March try your hand at fishing for delicious salmon.

New Zealand ItinerariesIf you love museums then you will love Ashburton! This great semi rural town boasts a lot of museums, including the Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum, the Lynn Historical Woodworking Trust as well as the Ashburton Vintage Car Museum, Ashburton Museum and the Ashburton Harness Racing Museum.

This busy service town is home to Temuka Pottery. Generations of New Zealander’s have Temuka pottery products on their table or in their oven! The factory shop is located on Thomas Street in Temuka.

The striking Timaru piazza, with its stunning views that stretch from Caroline Bay across to the snow-clad mountains, is a great place to relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the town.

See the world’s smallest penguins in their natural environment. Within walking distance from Oamaru’s town centre, visitors can enjoy a 25-45 minute day tour or a 1-1.5 hour evening viewing.

New Zealand ItinerariesThe city of Dunedin is situated at the head of the spectacular Otago Harbour and is the second largest city in the South Island. Along with the famous Otago University, the city is also considered New Zealand’s architectural heritage capital, offering historic Victorian and Edwardian buildings lovingly restored to make this city truly unique.

You will have no problems finding suitable accommodation! From ultra luxurious romantic resorts to holiday houses, self-catering apartments, luxury hotels, motels, bed & breakfast or campgrounds… it’s all here!

As far as dining goes… where do you start? Cheap takeaways to first class, award winning dining, its all here for the tasting! Along with the normal choices of fast food options, there are a great range of cafes and restaurants offering some of the best local cuisine.

Highly recommended Dunedin tourist attractions include…

Otago Peninsula – Take a tour with Elim Wildlife Tours or Monarch Wildlife Cruises to view this spectacular region and wildlife. View the Royal Albatross, penguins, seals and bird life galore!

Larnach Castle & Gardens – If you love New Zealand antiques, carved ceilings, castles, stunning views and beautiful gardens then a visit to historic Larnach Castle is a must! New Zealand’s only castle boasts spectacular tower views and a Garden of International Significance where you can meander through 9 different gardens before enjoying a refreshment break in the Ballroom cafe.

New Zealand ItinerariesCadbury World – A must for chocolate lovers! Located in the centre of Dunedin, enjoy a fun filled and fascinating guided tour around the Cadbury chocolate factory and sample Cadbury product along the way!

The Octagon – A well known meeting place with the locals in the heart of the city, this is where you will find plenty of ‘top-notch’ bars and cafes or just sit on the grassy bank and enjoy the bustle of the inner city.

Otago Settlers Museum – Established in 1898, the museum is considered one of the country’s most significant social history museums. Learn about the indigenous Maori, Chinese goldfield workers and other migrant groups. We suggest you pre-arrange a guided tour.

Speight’s Brewery Heritage Tour – The Speight’s Brewery is truly an Otago icon and this 90 minute our of a working brewery and heritage centre is a “must see” for any visitor to the Otago region. Of course at the end of your informative and interactive tour you can enjoy the range of beers in the private Heritage Bar!

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