South Island trips

Whales and Wineries in Upper South Island

5 Days


Christchurch to Christchurch


  • Hot springs
  • Award-winning wineries
  • Whale watching

Best time of year

All year

Hot springs, outdoor adventures and vineyards lend a pleasurable mix of indulgence and challenge to this itinerary. After pursuing cultural entertainments in Christchurch, make your way north to the spa town of Hanmer Springs. Hot soaks and massage therapies prepare you for the adventurous activities of St Arnaud – river rafting, kayaking and mountain biking are some of the possibilities.

From Blenheim you can get friendly with the vineyards of Marlborough, and the excellent restaurants that often accompany them. Encounter whales, dolphins, seals and ocean-going sea birds in Kaikoura before you return to Christchurch.


Christchurch is known as 'the garden city'.

Photo by John Doogan

Day 1

Christchurch - Hanmer Springs

0 km

0 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

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 beaches of Woodend, Waikuku, Leithfield and Amberley, which are wide open and foaming with surf. Waipara is known for its vineyards and olive groves – an excellent place to pause for refreshment. The highway continues through farm land and gentle hill country, crossing the Hurunui River and passing through Balmoral Forest. The last part of your journey follows the beautiful Waiau River.

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.

Explore the surrounds of Christchurch, Canterbury.

Start in Christchurch

Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. As the gateway to the South Island, it's a must on any itinerary.

Spend some time relaxing in the award-winning natural hot pools of Hamner Springs Thermal Pools and

End in Hanmer Springs

Best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes, Hanmer Springs, a picturesque alpine village, is the perfect spot to unwind on your journey back to Christchurch.

Time & distance calculator