DUNEDIN – CHRISTCHURCH (Via Oamaru, Timaru & Ashburton)
Travel distance is approximately 365kms (228 miles).
Allow at least 4.80 hours drive time (not including stops).
Welcome to the final day of your South Island self drive tour. The final day of driving is relatively flat and easy going and sticks to the main state highways, however there promises to be plenty of great countryside scenery to be enjoyed, from the historic architecture and rugged coastlines of Otago to the Southern Alps of Canterbury and everything in-between!
Some notable stops along the route to Christchurch include:
OAMARU BLUE PENGUIN COLONY
See the world’s smallest penguins in their natural environment. Within walking distance from Oamaru’s town centre, visitors can enjoy a 25-45 minute day tour or a 1-1.5 hour evening viewing.
The striking Timaru piazza, with its stunning views that stretch from Caroline Bay across to the snow-clad mountains, is a great place to relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the town.
This busy service town is home to Temuka Homeware. Generations of New Zealander’s have Temuka pottery products on their table or in their oven! The factory shop is located on Vine Street in Temuka and includes the Brix Cafe.
If you love museums then you will love Ashburton! This great semi rural town boasts a lot of museums, including the Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum, the Lynn Historical Woodworking Trust as well as the Ashburton Vintage Car Museum, Ashburton Museum and the Ashburton Harness Racing Museum.
Located 50km’s south of Christchurch, the rural community of Rakaia is considered New Zealand’s best fly-fishing location. During November to March try your hand at fishing for delicious salmon.
Welcome to the South Island’s largest city. Also referred to as ‘The Garden City’, Christchurch is a fabulous place to visit during Spring and Summer when the inner city parks and gardens are in full bloom and Hagley Park is buried under a yellow sea of daffodils.
Christchurch is a very visitor friendly city and you will find navigating around the inner city and botanical gardens is easy 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 when in Christchurch! The Strip and South Of Lichfield (SOL) are both popular areas, which are just restaurants, cafes and bars, while there are many seriously fabulous restaurants boasting an international flavour, from Italian to Mexican, to Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Cajun to name just a few.
Highly recommended Christchurch tourist attractions include…
International Antarctic Centre – Located across from Christchurch International Airport, this is a fun, interactive and informative family experience that includes an aquarium displaying actual specimens from the Antarctic ocean floor, displays, 14 minute sound and light show and much more. You can even chill out in the indoor polar room, slide down an icy slope, tackle the indoor Antarctic Storm, see live Little Blue penguins and experience a ride on the Hagglund – a genuine as-used-in-Antarctica all terrain vehicle.
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 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!
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.
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 kilometre 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.
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