Alpine Pacific Triangle, New Zealand
Wines, Thermal Hot Springs and Whale Watching
If you want to experience everything from fabulous wine tasting and hot spring therapy to ancient Maori culture and so much more, then the Alpine Pacific Triangle is waiting for you! From Christchurch Airport your journey will start in Waipara and take you all the way around to Hanmer Springs before coming full circle and returning to Waipara. With each major stop within 2 hours of each other, this route is best done over a few days. Whether you plan on hiring a rental car, motorhome, camper or another type of vehicle, you can be sure to find plenty of accommodation along the way. Accommodation facilities range from camping grounds to top quality hotels and everything in between.
Christchurch to Waipara and Kaikoura
Before you begin your trip from Waipara, make sure that you spend a day or two here to explore. The Weka Pass Railway will take you on a fantastic scenic ride and there are a number of fabulous wineries in the area as well.
Your first main stop will be in Chevoit. The main industry here is wool production and attractions include the local history museum. Cheviot Hill Domain is great for picnics, Gore Bay is popular in the summer for surfing and the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers are ideal for fly fishing enthusiasts.
Kaikoura is your next stop and it's a haven for wildlife and ocean wildlife in particular. Whale watching is extremely popular here. You can even go on boat trips to get a closer look at these marine giants. You could also visit the local fur seal population and enjoy the many beaches in the area. Maori culture tours are also available here.
Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs and Christchurch
Along the way, you will make your way through the town of Waiau. This fairly quiet spot is the perfect place to stop, stretch your legs and take in the view before you continue on to Culverden and Hanmer Springs.
When you reach Culverden, you could continue towards Hurunui but just about everyone chooses to stop off at Hanmer Springs for some much needed time in the hot springs. In Hanmer Springs itself, there's a whole lot more than just the therapeutic warm water to enjoy. Hanmer Forest, Conical Hill, the Wai ariki Farm Park, Cafe & Gallery and various wineries attracts many tourists to this area. There are many hiking trails and horse treks which make it worthwhile to spend some extra time here before driving on.
Hurunui and Waikari are next along the route and are great to stop and take in some of the local culture, history and nature. Take your time along Weka Pass and enjoy the views.
Make your way back to Waipara. This town has some of the most phenomenal mountain views to the north and south. Fishing, golf, wine tasting and horse riding are all popular activities here. Return to Christchurch through the rural town of Amberley.