Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 135kms (84 miles).
Allow at least 1.75 hours drive time (not including stops).

This delightful self-drive tour showcases the best of the upper South Island and top coastal visitor spots. Travellers will enjoy the diverse scenery of coastal New Zealand combined with a range of eco-adventures and self-pampering opportunities.

From unspoilt beaches to whale watching and Waipara’s vineyards to the hot pools and massage therapies of Hanmer Springs, this is a journey of indulgence.

The route from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs will take you past the impressive vineyards of Waipara as well as the surf beaches of Woodend, Waikuku, Leithfield and Amberley before turning inland towards Hanmer Springs.

Some notable stops along the route to Hanmer Springs include:

Award winning wine combined with an award-winning restaurant makes for a delightful lunch stop for the discerning traveller. Whether in front of the roaring fire in winter, or outdoors on a hot summer day, you will find delicious food, superior customer service and truly fabulous wines.

These two charming rural townships are located at the end of the Historic Weka Pass Railway and offers panoramic views of the Puketeraki and Kaikoura ranges. Hawarden and Waikari are the gateway to the Hurunui Lakes, which is an excellent fishing and hunting area with plenty of walking tracks and camp areas. The spectacular lakes consist of Lake Sumner, Loch Katrine, Lake Sheppard, Lake Taylor and Lake Mason.

Located in the basin of Castle Hill, the 594 metre cave within the reserve is considered one of the most outstanding natural features within the Canterbury region. There are two entrances to the cave from the car park and the cave passage meanders and twists in total darkness between the two entrances, taking approximately 1 hour to go through.

The historic Hurunui Hotel has held it’s liquor licence since July 1860 and has been restored to its former glory. The hotel is popular stop on the road to Hanmer Springs for a refreshing cold drink, coffee or lunch break. Non designated drivers can enjoy sampling the hotels finest brews! A great place for a photo stop!

Located at the turn off to Hanmer Springs, Thrillseekers Canyon is a ‘must do’ for adrenalin junkies! Enjoy one of the best Kiwi jetboat trips imaginable, have a go at river rafting or go bungy jumping off the bridge! Other activities include quad-bike safari, paintball and off-road kart safaris.

Hanmer Springs is New Zealand’s favourite alpine village due to the major attraction of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa for Kiwi and international visitors alike! There is plenty to see and do in Hamner Springs, all designed to be as relaxing or energetic as you want.

Along with a great range of motels, the area has some of the best boutique Bed & Breakfast homes around, as well as plenty of holiday houses to rent. For luxury accommodation the Heritage Hanmer Springs is located in the heart of village.

The village itself is easy to walk around and there is a good selection of cafes and restaurants to suit most budgets and tastebuds!

Highly recommended Hanmer Springs tourist attractions include…

Thermal Pools – The award winning thermal pools give you the choice of relaxing in the natural environment of their thermal mineral pools or getting wet and wild with some waterslide fun. A choice of pools are available over this huge area, including large outdoor thermal pools regulated between 36-40 degrees Celsius, a 25 metre fresh water pool plus a family activity area with heated water-slide. Private thermal pools are also available along with sauna and steam rooms.

Mini Golf – The village has a couple of really great themed mini golf courses and they are a lot of fun for all the family.

The Spa At Hanmer Springs – Located in the same venue as the thermal pools, this is the ultimate in personal pampering and relaxation. The recently refurbished spa features Vichy massage treatment rooms, Hydrostorm unit, couples treatment rooms, relaxation lounge, private saunas and steam rooms plus private thermal pools. From massages to hot stone therapy, to manicures, pedicures and facials… this is where you can indulge and self pamper in a tranquil environment.

Mountain Biking – Hanmer Springs offers a great range for mountain biking from easy to hard with great all weather riding. There are plenty of mountain bike forest tracks and local bike hire is available.

Hanmer Springs Forest Walks – The area is popular for short strolls, day walks or more serious tramps and there is definitely a walk to suit almost everyone, no matter how fit or unfit! The Conical Hill Walk is the most popular walk and boasts magnificent views from the lookout shelter. This is a moderate walk and 1 hour return. There are plenty of other forest walks and we suggest you visit the Visitor Information Centre in Hanmer Springs for a complete list of all walks.

Backtrax Quad Biking – Specialised quad biking company, offering safe, supervised quad bike tours in spectacular breathtaking scenery and river crossings. Suitable for beginners to experienced riders on easy to ride bikes.

Horse Trekking – Explore the spectacular surrounding countryside and Hanmer Forest Park on horseback.
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