BLENHEIM – KAIKOURA – CHRISTCHURCH
Travel distance is approximately 313kms (196 miles).
Allow at least 4 hours drive time (not including stops).
With so many wineries and award winning restaurants, your stay in Blenheim will have hopefully been a gastronomical delight and you are now rather conversed in New Zealand wines, cheeses and local culinary delights.
From the surrounds of vineyards your journey today will take you out to the azure blues of the coast for an invigorating self-drive trip along this stunning stretch of the South Island’s coast as you meander into Kaikoura, a top eco-tourism village, made famous for top marine mammal viewing, including close-up encounters with whales.
The journey from Kaikoura to Waipara on State Highway 1 is part of the South Island’s Alpine Pacific Triangle touring route and travels through a diverse range of scenery, including rugged coastal ranges, farm land, the vineyards and olive groves of Waipara and the surf beaches on the outskirts of North Christchurch.
We suggest you spend some hours in Kaikoura and take the opportunity to go whale watching if weather permits!
Some notable stops along the route to Christchurch include:
LAKE GRASSMERE SALTWORKS
Just past the township of Seddon you will see the towering hills of salt from the saltworks. During summer the ponds turn a pretty coral pink. Makes for an interesting stop and not something you see everyday!
KAIKOURA WHALE WATCH
Take an ocean tour on a modern catamaran designed specifically for whale watching with an experienced crew. This award winning whale watch tour showcases Giant Sperm Whales which can be viewed year round. Other ocean encounters include New Zealand fur seals, pods of dolphins and Albatross to name a few!
MAORI TOURS KAIKOURA
Experience genuine New Zealand Maori hospitality as you are entertained and enlightened on this half day tour. Try weaving with flax, learn a Maori song and explore traditional Maori uses of trees and plants as food and medicine.
Choose to watch or swim with the delightful Dusky Dolphins in their wild ocean habitat.
Boasting spectacular ocean and mountain views combined with award winning New Zealand wine and delicious platters, soups and deli foods. A great place to have a wine tasting (if you aren’t the driver for the day!), but even the sober driver can enjoy the fabulous views and delicious lunchtime menu.
PEGASUS BAY WINERY
Located in the heart of the vineyards in Waipara, Pegasus Bay Winery is surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens and a delightful restaurant. Purchase a bottle of their award winning wine to enjoy at your lodgings in Christchurch with a good cheese and salty gourmet crackers.
The South Island’s largest city is also known as ‘The Garden City’ and if you visit in Spring or Summer you will understand why. Hagley Park is buried under a sea of daffodils during Spring and colorful public gardens are scattered throughout the inner city.
Christchurch is very visitor friendly and it is easy to navigate around the inner city and botanical gardens on foot, or else hop on the historic Tram which runs a circuit throughout the day past the inner city and popular Arts Centre, Gallery, etc.
Accommodation is plentiful in the city and surrounds, from swanky inner city furnished apartments to motels, quaint B&B’s, luxury hotels and the typical hotel chains.
You wont go hungry either! The Strip and South Of Lichfield (SOL) are both popular areas, which are just restaurants, cafes and bars.
Highly recommended Christchurch tourist attractions include…
Christchurch Botanical Gardens – Established back in 1863, today the gardens are a haven for roller blading, walkers, joggers, cyclists and dog walkers! 30 hectares of park-like gardens surrounded by the Avon River and a diverse range of gardens and flowers throughout… and it’s free!
Cathedral Square – Located in the heart of the city, the Visitor Information Centre is located in ‘the square’. A multi-cultural feeling exists in this exciting part of town, always popular with tourists and lunch time dwellers. Be entertained by buskers, grab a coffee from Starbucks, or just watch life colourfully go by!
The Arts Centre – During the weekends you can sample all the international flavours from the different food stalls, including popular and some rarer ethnic culinary delights while strolling amidst the markets, bustling with the sights and sounds of artists, craftspeople, musicians, buskers and more. Situated in the historic buildings of the original Canterbury University College, the Arts Centre is one of Christchurch’s most significant cultural attractions.
Christchurch Gondola – Enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, Lyttelton Harbour and Pacific Ocean.
Christchurch Tramway – The ultimate inner city tour that lets you experience the magic of the central city onboard a beautifully restored tram. The 2.5 kilometer track takes about 25 minutes to complete and allows you to take in many of the “must see’ attractions. These include Cathedral Square, Aquarium of Discovery, The Arts Centre, The Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Punting on the Avon, New Regent Street and Cathedral Junction.
Punting On The Avon – Sit back and relax custom built punt as your friendly boatman guides you past the sights of the central city as you meander along the Avon River.
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