Alpine Pacific Triangle, New Zealand
Christchurch to Waipara, Hanmer Springs & Kaikoura
New Zealand’s Alpine Pacific Highway combines some of the best attractions in the country and is a perfect scenic route to tackle in a motorhome rental or campervan hire. Starting from Christchurch this 370km circular route combines great food and wine in the Waipara Valley with a marvellously relaxing visit to the Alpine village of Hanmer Springs, as well as the perennially popular eco-tourism destination of Kaikoura. Along the way lies the North Canterbury coastal road as well as Inland Canterbury where you can visit little rural villages and some historic sites for the culture buffs. This is a great holiday trip for the whole family. From Christchurch you can drive north up the North Canterbury coastal road to kaikoura.
After leaving Christchurch you will come to Amberley and the lovely Waipara Valley, one of the country’s prime wine producing regions where you can visit some of the vineyards to see why the wines are achieving such a great reputation. Beyond Waipara the route will turn inland towards Waikari, Hurunui and Culverden. This is a most scenic part of the journey and also offers some interesting historic sites en route to the Alpine village of Hanmer Springs where you can enjoy the natural heated pools and many other adventure activities. This is a great place to spend a few days or even a week relaxing or being active, or a good blend of both! There is a great Camp Site just 5 minutes walk for the thermal springs resort, and close to various other adrenalin pumping activities such as Bungy jumping, jet boating and quad biking, among others.
After leaving Hanmer Springs you drive continues north to Waiau where you can stop off for some brilliant salmon fishing or to visit the Waiau Falls Scenic Park, before following the Alpine Pacific Triangle through to Kaikoura, the crayfish capital of New Zealand.
Kaikoura is a superb place to spend a few days to experience whale watching, seal and dolphin swimming, hunting, hiking and Maori culture tours. Obviously there is great fresh seafood to be had – be sure to try the crayfish. The coastal road south along the edge of the Pacific will take you to some of the best seaside holiday towns and villages in the country, such as Gore Bay and Motunau, both very popular surfing towns and great for fun in the sun summer holidays. The route continues back through Waipara and Amberley to Christchurch.
Alternatively from Kaikoura, you can head north to the Marlborough and Nelson regions. Take a walk on Queen Charlotte Track or Abel Tasman Coastal Track; or go kayaking in Marlborough Sounds or Abel Tasman National Park. Sample the wines and food in this major wine growing region.