Inland Scenic Route 72

  • Inland Scenic Route 72

Inland Scenic Route 72 - motorhome road trips New Zealand

Drive along the dotted line where the Canterbury Plains meet the Southern Alps and find a rare kind of heaven.

On one side, serene pastures and fields; on the other side, the rock solid beauty of New Zealand's longest, highest mountain range. Opportunities for outdoor fun can be found at every turn - bring your fly rod, hiking boots and sense of adventure.

Inland Scenic Route 72 journeys from Rangiora, north of Christchurch, to the farming centre of Oxford. The route continues along the foot of the alps to Mount Hutt, Canterbury's premier ski field. Mount Somers is next, for a hike in the mountains. Then it's over the Rangitata River to Geraldine, where you can link to State Highway 1 or head inland to Mount Cook.

driving routeoverviewyour driving itinerary

Start: Rangiora
Finish: Geraldine
Duration: 3 days

  • At any time of the year, the Rangitata River delivers excellent fly fishing or awesome whitewater rafting.
  • The snow-capped Southern Alps, a perfect backdrop for hot air ballooning.
  • Aoraki (Mt Cook) - Cloud Piercer - is the highest mountain in New Zealand.
  • Mt Hutt, in Canterbury, is one of the premier ski fields in Winter.

Outdoor adventures - both gentle and daring - are your reason for choosing to follow Inland Scenic Route 72. In any season, you'll find captivating ways to appreciate the breathtaking landscapes.

Around the country town of Oxford, there are farm stays and horse riding opportunities. Oxford Forest is a popular spot for walks and picnics. The Ryde Falls Walk is an easy excursion, while a trip up Mount Oxford is a challenging one day expedition.

Flicking a fly rod is a relaxing way to absorb the beauty of the Southern Alps. On the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers, salmon are the key targets. The average catch is 6 to 8 kilograms, but 15 kilograms isn't out of the question. Rainbow and brown trout also live in these rivers. A totally different kind of river entertainment can be found in Rakaia Gorge, where you can catch a jetboat to see waterfalls, hair-raising rapids and amazing alpine scenery. The Rangitata River's special talent is white water rafting - incredibly exciting, but also suitable for first timers. Rafting trips begin where Edoras was created for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Geraldine offers clear mountain views, beautiful walks, a vibrant boutique shopping village and is conveniently located within two hours’ drive of eight ski fields.

You'll want to get close to the Southern Alps on this journey, but the type of interaction depends on the time of the year.

In winter and spring, Mount Hutt ski field has some of the most reliable skiing and snowboarding conditions in New Zealand. The town of Methven fairly fizzes with après ski activities. Once snow levels have receded, the hiking season begins. Make it your mission to complete the Mount Somers Walkway - a ten hour return trip that takes you to historic coal mines, impressive volcanic formations, tussock lands, a deep river canyon and rugged bush country. You can also climb to the top of Mount Somers for lofty views of the mountains and plains.