Auckland to Queenstown via the East Coast

12 Days
2260km
1405mi

Route

Auckland Central to Central Queenstown

Highlights

  • 6 Wine regions
  • Whale watching
  • Beaches & mountains

Best time of year

All year

This intrepid road trip takes you to some of the lesser-travelled parts of New Zealand, as well as our most popular visitor destinations. Starting in our largest city, Auckland, you'll make your way to the Coromandel Peninsula, famous for its beaches, and down to geothermally active Rotorua. Gisborne is a land of Chardonnay and amazing surf breaks, while Napier serves up beautiful red wines and art deco architecture.

Wellington is known as the world's coolest little capital. It boasts exciting nightlife and diverse cuisine scene, along with unique wildlife experiences and cultural activities. Take the ferry across to the South Island and you're in Marlborough, the home of Sauvignon Blanc. Make your way down the coast and encounter whales, dolphins and seals in Kaikoura.

Next you're in funky Christchurch and on to picturesque Lake Tekapo. Your journey winds up in the beautiful lakeside towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, where you can enjoy adventurous pursuits or just relax and indulge.

Info

Lunch at Pegasus Winery, Christchurch - Canterbury

Photo by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism

Day 9 / 12

Kaikoura - Christchurch

2 hrs

14 mins

182 km

113 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

The trip south takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges. From Cheviot you can detour to Gore Bay to see the fascinating cliff formations. The landscape becomes more gentle as you approach Waipara – a region known for its vineyards (Pinot Noir is the specialty here) and olive groves. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.

Fast-changing and funky, Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. Old English gardens contrast with pop-up bars and container-based shopping malls in this enduring centre, which is rebuilding itself after a damaging earthquake in February 2011. Favourite activities include punting down the Avon River, biking in the Port Hills, visiting Sumner Beach, or taking a day trip out to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa.

Acercate a las enormes ballenas con un paseo en barco en Kaikoura.

Start in Kaikoura

The picturesque coastal town of Kaikoura is the perfect place for marine life encounters, coastal walks, and tucking into a plate of crayfish.

Christchurch tram city tours

End in Christchurch

Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity.

Things to see and do

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