7 Days 441 km


  • Whales & wineries
  • Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Wellington's cuisine



Includes a ferry across Cook Strait.

This exciting 7-day coastal journey travels from Christchurch up the South Island's east coast to Wellington. Explore the vibrant city of Christchurch, meet amazing marine life in Kaikoura and savour world-class wine in Marlborough. You'll enjoy the stunning Queen Charlotte Sounds and then catch a ferry across Cook Strait to discover the diverse culture and cuisine of Wellington.

Day 1: Spend the day in Christchurch

Christchurch - Canterbury
Lyttelton Coffee Co, Christchurch - Canterbury


Stretches from ocean to the Alps


  • Funky cafes and restaurants
  • Punting on the Avon River
  • French culture in Akaroa


Discover relaxing natural environments and thrilling adventure activities.

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Take the time to find out what makes this ever-evolving city unique. Christchurch is brimming with innovation and creativity. The city boasts an array of diverse restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. Christchurch's iconic activities remain firm favourites. Visit the stunning botanic gardens, enjoy a relaxing punt on the Avon River and ride a historic tram.

For something a little further afield travel take a trip to Akaroa, go biking in the Port Hills or catch the TranzAlpine train to Arthur's Pass for a stunning day trip into the Southern Alps.

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Day 2 - 3: Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch - Canterbury
Fur seal, Christchurch - Canterbury


  • Dolphin, seal and whale encounters
  • Kaikoura Peninsula walkway
  • Delicious seafood


  • by car:

    3 h | 202 km - SH7
    2 h 45 min | 181 km - SH1

  • SH1 route is only open Fri - Mon, 7am - 6pm

  • by bus:

    3 h 40 min | by Intercity


Get up close to marine wildlife in this coastal town.

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As you head north to Kaikoura today, you will travel through 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; Pinot Noir and Riesling are the local specialities.

Kaikoura is a place where eco-tourism meets Maori culture; this ocean is a rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds, and local Maori offer guided tours with a cultural twist. Get close to the action with whale watching, swimming with the dolphins or seals, albatross viewing or sea kayaking.

Day 4: Kaikoura to Blenheim

Blenheim, Marlborough


From valleys of vines to sheltered waterways


  • Home of Sauvignon Blanc
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Queen Charlotte Track


  • by car:

    2 h 35 min | 153 km via SH1

  • SH1 route is only open 7am - 8.30pm

  • by bus:

    2 h 25 min | to Blenheim by Intercity

Enjoy a picturesque coastal drive towards the top of the South Island. Celebrate your arrival in the Marlborough wine region with a glass of world-class Sauvignon Blanc matched with the other local delicacy, Greenshell mussels. A tour of the many vineyards will give you the perfect day out.

Alternatively, this area also offers some beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails. Aircraft enthusiasts will enjoy the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

Day 5: Explore Queen Charlotte Sounds

Walking the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough


  • Kayaking, hiking and mountain biking
  • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
  • Wildlife encounters



Stunning coastal views and native bush make for a unique walking or biking experience.

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Today you can choose to walk, cycle, or kayak part of the famous Queen Charlotte Track; it offers spectacular views of the Queen Charlotte Sounds. The full track takes up to 5 days walking, but you can enjoy a taste of it in one. You'll need to arrange a water taxi from Picton to drop you off and pick you up.

If you prefer a less active day, a boat cruise through the Sounds will treat you to some of the same amazing scenery. Spend tonight in the picturesque coastal town of Picton.

Day 6 - 7: Picton to Wellington

Goldings Free Dive, Wellingtone, Wellington


A mix of culture, history, nature and cuisine


  • Lively cafes, bars and restaurants
  • Museums and galleries
  • Wētā Workshop


Today you'll take a ferry through the Marlborough Sounds and across the Cook Strait to Wellington at the bottom of the North Island. 

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington speciality. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.

Be sure to visit the national museum, Te Papa, while you're here. Other famous attractions include the Wellington Cable Car, the Houses of Parliament, Zealandia and the waterfront.

View the route below

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