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Christchurch Road Trips

Hanmer Springs to Christchurch via Kaikoura

This road trip follows two legs of the Alpine Pacific Touring Route, one of the most scenic highways in New Zealand.

Leave Hanmer Springs to the south on SH7A and turn left onto the local touring route to Rotherham.

At Rotherham join SH70 travelling northeast to Waiau. From here it's about a 70km trip through the gorge to emerge on the coast just south of Kaikoura, where you're bound to have a whale of a time.

From Kaikoura you'll travel on SH1 south past Claverley, and through Parnassus to Cheviot.

Here you can take a worthwhile side trip to Gore Bay on the east coast.

Back on SH1 turn left inland again to Waipara and Amberley before emerging on the east coast through Leithfield and Waikuku Beaches.

Continue through Woodend to Kaiapoi and Belfast and on to New Brighton Beach, before cruising into Christchurch.

Christchurch to Oamaru

Leave Christchurch south through Templeton to Rolleston and Burnham. Burnham is the southern base of the New Zealand Army.
Continue through Dunsandel to the Rakaia River where you can have a white-water rafting or jet boating experience.

Back on SH1 south you come to the township of Ashburton which is a great place to stretch your legs checking out the historic places around town.

Leave Ashburton south through Tinwald, Rangitata and Winchester, before rolling into Temuka. Temuka is famous in New Zealand for its tableware. Check out the factory shop.

Not far south of Temuka you pass through Washdyke and emerge on the coast at Timaru.

Follow the coast south of Timaru all the way to Glenavy and cross the mighty Waitaki River over the kilometre long bridge.

Further south you'll pass through Pukeuri before arriving in Oamaru by the sea.

Christchurch to Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass is perhaps one of the most popular walking tracks in New Zealand, and certainly the most well-known.

Leave Christchurch west on SH73 through Yaldhurst and West Melton, Aylesbury, Kirwee to Darfield.

Continue on SH73 from Darfield through Racecourse Hill, Waddington and Springfield before heading for the Korowai/Torlesse Tussockland Park. This is a good place to stop and explore.

As you head further east you will drive through Castle Hill Village on the slopes of the Craigieburn Range. There are a number of parklands and places to ski here including Craigieburn, Broken River, Mt Cheeseman, Porter Heights and Mt Olympus ski fields.

Further along, SH73 joins the Waimakariri River briefly near Cass and turns along the river gorge between Craigieburn Forest Park and Arthur's Pass National Park.

About 10 kilometres past Bealey Spur you will drive into the settlement of Arthur's Pass.

Timaru to Aoraki/Mt Cook

Leave the seaside township of Timaru north on SH1 briefly, through Smithfield and Washdyke before veering left onto SH8 heading west.

Pass through the settlements of Levels and Waitawa to Pleasant Point. Here you'll find nice parklands for a picnic and a golf course if you want to stretch your legs.

Leaving Pleasant Point the road follows the Tengawai River through Cave, Mawaro and Albury, before crossing the river to Cricklewood, Winscombe and into Fairlie. There's an excellent short walkway here, plus a camping ground and golf.

Continue west on SH8 through Eversley, Kimbell and Burkes Pass settlements until you arrive at Lake Tekapo. As well as the magnificent Lake Tekapo, you'll find a holiday park, ice skating, an airfield and the famous Church of the Good Shepherd.

SH8, the Tekapo–Twizel Road crosses the plateau between Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. There are some great lookouts as the road follows the shoreline of Pukaki.

A short trip south to Twizel will bring you to the Waitaki Power Scheme information centre to learn about how most of New Zealand's electricity is generated.

Next head onto SH30 for one of the most spectacular drives north towards Mt Cook. The road hugs the shoreline of Pukaki all the way to the braids of the Murchison River, through Birch Hill to the Aoraki Mount Cook village.

There is an airfield where you can catch scenic flights over the national park and, weather permitting, even land on the Tasman Glacier.

Rangiora to Timaru

SH72 is known as the Inland Scenic Route and courses through much of the most beautiful parts of Canterbury.

Leave Rangiora south on SH72 through many small settlements including Cust and Oxford.

Curve south across the Waimakariri River to Sheffield, Coalgate and Glentunnel.

Cross the Rakaia Gorge to Mount Hutt. This is one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding mountains in New Zealand, and well worth a look.

Continue southwest to Staveley, Mount Somers and Mayfield.
Cross the mighty Rangitata River at Arundel to Coopers Creek, across the Orari Bridge and into Geraldine. Geraldine is full of surprises for visitors with walks, garden visits, artists and craftspeople, white-water rafting, golf, fishing, and movies at the historic cinema.

Continue south on SH72 to Winchester and Temuka. Temuka is home to the best known pottery manufacturers in New Zealand by the same name. Check out the factory shop for a bargain.

From Temuka it's a short drive through Arowhenua and Washdyke to Timaru.

It is recommended that you have detailed road maps before departing on your trip