The upper half of the South Island offers loads of variety, fantastic scenery and the world famous Sauvignon Blanc vineyards of Marlborough. Quite simply; it is perfect for a driving holiday. The best way to enjoy what the ‘Top of the South’ offers is by flying into Christchurch International Airport and grabbing a car from Touchdown Rentals before driving northwards. Here are some highlights.
Kaikoura’s Giants of the Ocean
Just on 500 metres off shore in Kaikoura the sea floor drops to a depth of almost two kilometres making it the perfect feeding grounds for the stars of Whale Watch tours – the mighty Giant Sperm Whale. Sophisticated technology and years of experiences enables you to almost certainly see a whale but either way keep your eyes open for possible sightings of fur seals, dusky dolphins and wandering albatross.
Tip: Check out the fantastic seafood, from fish ‘n’ chips to mouth-watering, freshly caught crayfish.
Travel a few hours north of Kaikoura and as you admire the scenery you’ll start to see vineyards and wineries popping up. This is the home of New Zealand’s famous Sauvignon Blanc wines but there are other wines to enjoy in this area around Blenheim.
The Marlborough area is generally flat and, with wineries in close proximity, exploring by bike is ideal.
The sands are gloriously golden and the sea is crystal blue so it is no wonder the Nelson/Tasman region is the home of Golden Bay. You can enjoy this Bay and many others, on floating on a kayak during an organised tour. Alternatively, grab your boots and backpack for walks through the Abel Tasman National Park.
Get yourself into hot water in Hanmer Springs – it is a place name but it is also where Hanmer hot spring are actually located!
Unwind and relax in the many outdoor hot pools or sneak away for an indulgent massage in the adjacent Spa at Hanmer Springs.
Tip for Christchurch
The Commodore Airport Hotel is based near the International Airport. It is a convenient as a base for you to explore Christchurch and to connect with your international flights. It is also where Touchdown Rental are located – really convenient – so keep your car and explore Christchurch city. See the inner city rebuild in action, view the city from the Port Hills via the Christchurch Gondola or jump aboard the Christchurch Tram – New Zealand’s only tram!
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