Duration: 3 days
- Kaikoura - whales, dolphins and seals, plus astounding landscape - mountain ranges tower above the town. Seafood delicacy, crayfish.
- Hanmer Springs - hot springs and scenic walks.
- Waipara - one of New Zealand’s newest wine areas. Pinor Noir and Riesling are the favoured wine styles. Enjoy lunch at a winery or sample local produce; hazelnuts, olive oil and lavender products.
Day One - Christchurch to Kaikoura - 2.25 hours, 184kms
The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.
The trip north takes you past the surf beaches of Woodend, Waikuku, Leithfield and Amberley. Waipara is known for its vineyards and olive groves – an excellent place to pause for refreshment. From Cheviot you can detour to Gore Bay to see the fascinating cliff formations. The impressive scenery of the coastal ranges accompanies the rest of the way to Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish. A whale watch tour can take you to see Minke, Humpback and Southern Right whales mixing it with dolphins and orcas. You can also walk to see fur seal colonies and spy on big seabirds such as mollymawks, albatross and petrels.
Day Two - Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs - 1.5 hours, 132kms
There are a number of ways to get to Hanmer Springs from Kaikoura. The most scenic route is via the Inland Road which takes you past the entrance to the ski village of Mount Lyford, or you can travel a bit further south and take the Leader Road. The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views and finishes at the Waiau Township. On both routes there are plenty of photo opportunities for the avid photographer.
Hanmer Springs is a destination for relaxation and indulgence. You can soak in the hot springs or treat yourself to a range of spa therapies. Outdoor activities are also a Hanmer specialty. Forest walks, horse trekking, trout fishing, jet boating, bungy jumping and golf are some of the options
Day Three - Hanmer Springs to Christchurch - 1.75 hours, 135kms
The route to Christchurch initially follows the beautiful Waiau River. Then it leads you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. Farmland, vineyards and olive groves characterise the Waipara region, which is known for its wine and food – an excellent place to pause for refreshment. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.