Driving routes nz

Alpine Pacific Triangle


Alpine Pacific Triangle Tour – (Christchurch – Hanmer Springs – Christchurch)

Start Christchurch / Finish Christchurch
Recommended Length: 3 Days
Distance: 451 km (282 miles)

Alpine Pacific Triangle

Map of the Alpine Pacific Tour

View Alpine Pacific Triangle Tour(Christchurch – Hanmer Springs – Christchurch) via Fresh Rentals

What you’ll see

The Alpine Pacific Triangle tour will take you from Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city  with a strong focus on the arts and heritage. Once Christchurch is explored you’ll then head up the coast towards Kaikoura and enjoying the unspoilt beaches along the way. Kaikoura is famous for the wildlife in the area which include, whales, seals and dolphins, don’t forget to enjoy the local food.

The drive to Hanmer Springs will be highlighted by Waipara’s vineyards and olive groves. Once in Hanmer Springs, it’s time to relax with the hot pools, massage therapies and much more for preparation for the drive back to Christchurch.

Travel time: Km/Miles

Day 1
Christchurch to Kaikoura 2.25 hrs 184km/115m

While in Christchurch

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

7 Rolleston Ave, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand

Christchurch is famously know as the Garden City and it’s these gardens that are at the heart of this reputation. The botanic gardens boast of thousands of plants from around the world supported by a temperate climate since 1863.

The garden also contains some of the tallest and oldest tress in New Zealand. Complete with art works and memorial plantings which reflect the local and international history of New Zealand. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens showcase some of the flora of New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Day 2
Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs 1.5 hrs 132km/83m

Famous for its wildlife Kaikoura is a must for people travelling in New Zealand. With dolphins, whales and seal colonies. The local cuisine is a great way to try crayfish and a favourite with travellers to the area. You can also walk to see fur seal colonies and spy on big seabirds such as mollymawks, albatross and petrels.

The most scenic route to get to Hanmer Springs from Kaikoura is via the Inland Road which takes you pass the Mount Lyford ski village. There’s also the Leader Road which finishes at the Waiau Township. The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views.

Hanmer Springs gives you the option of relaxation and indulgence. It offers many hot springs as well as spas. But it’s not just for relaxation, you can also find many outdoor adventures in Hanmer such as forest walks, horse trekking, trout fishing, jet boating, bungy jumping and golf are some of the options.

Day 3
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch 1.75 hrs 135km/84m


On the way back you can follow the Waiau River which will lead you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. You’ll enter the Waipara region which is famous for its wine and food to stop for refreshments. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.

The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.

They say you can’t beat ‘asking a local’. Well that’s us, we’re proud local Kiwi’s.

Wellington – Nelson – Wellington


Driving New Zealand – Wellington to Nelson to Wellington – a Mini-South-Island Adventure

This mini-adventure will give you a taste of the south for tourists on a strict budget or timeframe.

View Wellington – Nelson – Wellington in a larger map
Wellington, (The Windy City), is the capital of New Zealand, and absolutely packed with vibrancy. A city renowned for art and theatre, you could do worse than exploring some of the local galleries, catching a matinee at one of the tiny theatres, or strolling through the halls of Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. Before you know it, it will be time to board your ferry to Picton.

Day 1:

Wellington – Picton - Nelson

98 km (61 miles)

Cook Strait

Enjoy a ferry trip across the Cook Strait, where you’ll encounter the Tory Channel, Cook’s Lookout and the Red Rocks seal colony. Drive your vehicle off the ferry and get ready to explore Picton.


A world-away from cosmopolitan Wellington, Picton is quaint and charming, and a lovely place to enjoy the vineyards, hiking and beautiful sheltered inlets of the Marlborough Sounds.


The drive to Nelson will take you through many interesting places, including the town of Havelock (the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World) and the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.

Day 2: Nelson to Blenheim

In Nelson you’ll find a true view into New Zealand life, with beach, bush and art cultures co-existing happily together. Nelson is the home of the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards.


From Nelson, take State Highway 6 toward the Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand’s second-largest National park. From the vibrant, alpine city of St. Arnaud, you can explore the hiking trails, kayaking, river rafting and mountain-biking around the mountains.


Follow the Wairau River to Blenheim, stopping beside the river for a picnic and a spot of fishing.

Blenheim is at the heart of the South Island’s wine country – and you’ll find the local vintage on every menu. Blenheim is a food lover’s Mecca, with a bustling café and restaurant scene and many beautiful B&Bs and homestays to enjoy. Take a tour of some of the 20 wineries within driving distance (although if you’re going to do tastings, make sure you have a sober driver), or take a more adventurous route and walk the Queen Charlotte track.

Day 3:

Blenheim – Picton - Wellington

28 km (18 miles)

After enjoying all that Blenheim has to offer you’ll start to make your way back to Picton. This drive back will take you across the Wairau Plains past the wineries and vineyards that Blenheim is famous for.

You’ll catch your ferry back to Wellington from Picton enjoying one of most scenic ferry trips in the world passing through the Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Strait.

What are you waiting for? Visit Nelson and Blenheim today!

Edoras Itinerary


Edoras the mythical hill fort of the Rohirrim in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. In the books, Edoras lies north of Gondor and northeast of Mordor, the kingdom of the dark lord Sauron. But to New Zealand, home of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Lord of the Rings, Edoras is a real place – the set was built on top of Mount Sunday, lying on the upper reaches of the Rangitata Valley (near Erewhon).

Many scenes from Lord of the Rings were shot in regions of the South Island. Jackson chose these locations for their stunning natural beauty and their lack of man-made landmarks. The central Canterbury alpine region – containing some of New Zealand’s most stunning glaciers and peaks – was used for many of the more remote locations in Middle Earth.

Although the set has been demolished (part of New Line Cinema’s agreement with the NZ Government was that all areas used for filming were to be left as they were found), the location is still evocative and beautiful, and makes for a wonderful side-trip for any tourist visiting the South Island of New Zealand.

We recommend the following itinerary for drivers starting from Christchurch:

Start Christchurch / Finish Christchurch
Recommended Length: 2 Days
Distance: 270 km (169 miles)

View Edoras Itinerary in a larger map

Day 1:


As the largest city in the South Island, Christchurch offers plenty of attractions for tourists, from cultural experiences to fine dining and beautiful natural scenery. Visit the Red Zone and learn about the devastating after-effects of the Canterbury Earthquakes, enjoy the divine colours and heavenly smells in the Botanic Gardens, and explore the volcanic landscape of Mount Somers Conservation Area.


Lying between the Rangitata and Rakaia rivers, Ashburton is a vibrant rural town with a character all of its own. Enjoy the local museums and art galleries, or try your hand at fly-fishing – the local obsession!

From Ashburton you can explore the Canterbury plains and the Southern Alps, including tours to Edoras and other Lord of the Rings film sites.Enquire at the local Information Centre (I-Site) for directions.


Only a half-hour’s drive from Ashburton, Methven is a great place to stop for the night. Dinner options are endless – choose from a range of different local and international cuisines.

Day 2:


Time for a bit of adrenaline-pumping action – head out to one of Methven’s adventure attractions. Ski bunnies can hit the slopes of Mt. Hutt, and in the summer nothing beats exploring the Southern Alps by hot air balloon. Hiking, bike trails, jet boating and skydiving are a few of the activities Methven has to offer.

When you’re ready, you can return to Christchurch via the scenic drive through Ashburton and the Canterbury plains, or take the more scenic route via the Rakaia Gorge.

What are you waiting for?