Touring Routes

Top of the South

Discover some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring scenery, fascinating people, exceptional food and wine at the Top of the South Island.




9 days


779 mi / 1254 km



Day One

2 hours 22 mins, 181 km

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Highlights: Christchurch Botanic Gardens / Waipara Valley Vineyards / Coastal Scenery

Start your day by exploring the Botanic Gardens in the beautiful Garden City of Christchurch before you travel northward through the Waipara Valley, one of New Zealand’s finest wine areas.

Stop in at one of the wineries along the way to sample the award-winning Pinot Noir and Riesling. Continue your journey through the charming landscape of rolling hills and farmland and pause in the friendly rural town of Cheviot for a tasty snack at one of the cafes.

Wind through the hills and enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains meeting the sea before arriving in Kaikoura.


Day Two

1 hour 51 mins, 130 km

Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs

Highlights: Coastal Scenery / Mount Lyford / Hanmer Springs Village

Kick off your day with one of Kaikoura’s unique activities: whale watch by boat or plane, swim with dolphins, kayak with the seals, quad bike or enjoy a stroll along the beach.

Continue your journey through to Hanmer Springs following the Alpine Pacific Triangle Touring Route passing through Mt Lyford, New Zealand’s only log cabin village.

The Inland Road is extremely scenic so take your time and watch for great photo stops. Hanmer Springs - New Zealand’s Alpine Spa Village - has several day spas, an array of boutique shops along with a range of eateries and walking and mountain bike tracks to explore.


Day Three

3 hours 29 mins, 258 km

Hanmer Springs to Blenheim

Highlights: Hanmer Springs Village / Nature Walks / Winery by Bike

Start your day with a gentle stroll through tranquil Hanmer Forest or a relaxing dip in thermal water at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa before heading north to Blenheim.

Arrive into Renwick via State Highway 63 and hire a bike and meander along the ‘golden mile’ and sample world class wines.

Refresh and relax at a luxury lodge, country B&B or Blenheim hotel.


Day Four

22 mins, 27.4 km

Stay in Blenheim

Highlights: Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre / Cellar Doors & Vineyards / Wildlife

Take a journey through aviation at the world renowned Omaka Aviation Centre.

With over 30 cellar doors with stunning wines you can complete your wine knowledge and join a guided tour.

Travel onto Picton and join a seafood cruise or visit island sanctuary, meet the wildlife along the way before returning to your accommodation in Blenheim.


Day Five

1 hour 40 mins, 120 km

Blenheim to Nelson

Highlights: Havelock Mussel Capital/ Cruise the Kenepuru Sound / National WOW Museum

Start your day with a stop at Havelock, catch the mussel boat cruise or mailboat cruise and discover more about the world’s Greenshell TM mussel capital and the Kenepuru Sound.

Travel on to Nelson where you can explore the city’s boutiques and galleries. Be inspired at the National WOW Museum and Nelson Classic Car Gallery.

Spend your evening admiring the seaviews while dining on fine local cuisine with succulent seafood accompanied by the region’s best wines and craft beers


Day Six

3 hours 39 mins, 290 km

Nelson to Lake Brunner, Moana

Highlights: Westport Town / The Great Coast Road / Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes / Lake Brunner.

Head south from Nelson and visit the Buller Gorge Swing Bridge and race along the river with Buller Canyon Jet

Stop in at Westport or go for a tour with UnderWorld Adventures.

Continue south to Greymouth to devour tapas after a brewery tour at Monteith’s Brewing Company. Drive inland to settle into your picturesque accommodation in Lake Brunner, Moana

Around Moana

Day Seven

30 mins, 34.3 km

Lake Brunner to Moana

Highlights: Brunner Mine Site / West Coast Wilderness Trail / Shantytown Heritage Park / On Yer Bike / Fishing in Moana.

Make Lake Brunner, Moana your base and explore the surrounds.

Learn about the history of the area at the Brunner Mine Site.

Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Greymouth to Shantytown Heritage Park and have your photo taken in period costume in the historic village.

If you prefer 4 wheels on your bike, try On Yer Bike! for a muddy adventure.

Take a stroll around the Greymouth shops or the lakeside walking tracks. If you prefer a more relaxed day stay and fish for brown trout at Lake Brunner.

Around Moana

Day Eight

2 hours 45 mins, 214 km

Moana to Christchurch

Highlights: Arthur’s Pass National Park / Christchurch / International Antarctic Centre

Wake up in Lake Brunner, Moana before departing for Christchurch.

Enjoy the ever-changing scenery from the West Coast’s untamed natural wilderness, through to the mighty Southern Alp’s and over the braided rivers and patchwork Canterbury Plains before arriving into the city of Christchurch.

En route don’t miss Arthur's Pass, Castle Hill and Springfield.

Arriving in Christchurch, make sure you take time to visit the International Antarctic Centre.

Spend a night out dining at one of Christchurch’s many restaurants.


Itinerary Map

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