How to drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch

Check out the amazing wildlife in Kaikoura before embarking on a smooth drive through the quaint township of Hanmer Springs, past indulgent vineyards and olive groves before arriving in the historic and charming city of Christchurch.

Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs
 132 km (83 miles)
Approximately 1.5 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway – Arterial Road

Do you fancy a bit of crayfish? Then Kaikoura is the place to head, as well as the perfect place for wildlife experiences. Jump on a whale tour that could have you seeing Southern Right Whales, Humpbacks, Orcas and Dolphins. There is also a fur seal colony on Ohau Point, which houses big seabirds as well as the colony.

Although there are a number of routes from Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura, the most scenic is the Inland Road routes, which takes you past the entrance of the ski village in Mount Lyford or perhaps take the more southern route along the Leader Road. The Leader Road includes rural farming views as well as coastal and ends up at the Waiau Township. You will find plenty of photo opportunities on either of these routes!

Hanmer Springs is a quaint little town, nestled in amongst picturesque mountains that provide a romantic feel. Take this chance to soak in the famous hot springs and treat yourself to a wide range of different spa treatments. As well as being a place to relax, Hanmer Springs also provides outdoor activities such as horse treks, jet boating, trout fishing, bungy jumping and forest walks.

Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
 135 km (84 miles)
Approximately 1.75 hours
Road Conditions: Motorway – State Highway

Hanmer Springs is a destination for relaxation and indulgence. You can soak in the hot springs or treat yourself to a range of spa therapies. Outdoor activities are also a Hanmer speciality. Forest walks, horse trekking, trout fishing, jet boating, bungy jumping and golf are some of the options.

Your route to Christchurch begins by following the stunning Waiau River, which then leads you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. The Waipara region is known for its vineyards and olive groves, as well as its wine and food. This is an excellent place to stop for refreshment before the final leg of your journey that leads you past the surf beaches at Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.

Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, and it has an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The serene and beautiful Avon River winds through the city and the adjacent Hagley Park which holds historic buildings and house a lively arts community. Restored trams make it easy for the many visitors to get around; don’t forget to visit heritage sites, art galleries, museums and to enjoy the urban restaurant scene.