Alpine Pacific Highway

Alpine Pacific Highway - motorhome driving routes New Zealand

Compact and highly scenic, the Alpine Pacific Triangle takes you to the wine and food experiences of Waipara, the spa delights of Hanmer Springs and the marine mammal encounters of Kaikoura.

In the eco-tourism world, Kaikoura is known as a top place for marine mammal viewing. You can see whales, dolphins and fur seals - you can even dive with sharks. Aside from the marine environment, Kaikoura has an astounding landscape - mountain ranges tower above the town, and in winter they're swathed with snow. The area's seafood delicacy, crayfish, is another reason to stay a while. Local restaurants provide seafood with a sea view.

If you want a quiet trip to Hanmer Springs, take State Highway 70. Traffic will be very light and the scenery is wildly beautiful. At Hanmer Springs, you'll be greeted by the trappings of a prosperous spa town. Against a backdrop of forested mountains, there are many options for active and passive relaxation. Make sure you indulge at the hot springs, to soak in naturally heated water. Facial and body treatments are available to put the finishing touches on your rejuvenation.  The local campground is within a short walking distance of the town centre.

To follow this campervan driving itinerary, pick up and return your vehicle at our Christchurch branch. Visit maui campervan hire Christchurch for more details.

driving routeoverviewyour drivingitinerary

Start: Christchurch
Finish: Christchurch
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.