South Island trips

Christchurch to Nelson via Kaikoura

3 Days


Christchurch to Nelson Central


  • Hanmer Springs
  • Whale watching
  • Wine tasting

Best time of year

All year

Ever seen a whale in the wild? This is your chance. Combine the ultimate wildlife experience with relaxing hot springs and world-class wineries on this unforgettable road trip. You'll drive past towering mountain peaks, fur seals basking on beaches, beautiful vineyards and white-sand beaches; this journey takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand's South Island.  


Enjoy the naturally heated waters at Hanmer Springs

Photo by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism

Day 1

Christchurch - Hanmer Springs

1 hr

41 mins

134 km

83 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

Driving north from Christchurch you will be surrounded by the rolling hills of Canterbury’s wine region, the Waipara Valley. As the country’s fastest growing wine region there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy a long lunch.

Turning inland toward the Southern Alps you will reach New Zealand’s premier alpine spa destination of Hanmer Springs. Set amongst a backdrop of forests and mountains, what better way to unwind and rejuvenate than a long soak in the thermal pools or a soothing massage at the award winning Spa.

Cashel Mall Re:Start Project, Christchurch

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.

Hanmer Springs is just an hour’s drive from Christchurch.

End in Hanmer Springs

Best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes, Hanmer Springs is a picturesque alpine village 90 minutes' drive from Christchurch.

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