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Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

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Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

In November this year, my wife & I will be returning to the south island of NZ after 36 years. We saw a lot back then, and no doubt much quieter then). However, we didn't get to drive between Christchurch & Picton (as we toured the south region, then back along the west coast to Picton, then across on the ferry)

I have been looking at various maps & brochures, and I see where the "inland road" to Kaikoura is mentioned as a scenic highway, is it worth taking this road from Christchurch? or do I stick the coast road. I have a full day to get to Picton.

Not worried in seeing Hanmer Springs on the drive up to Picton, as we will be coming back via Nelson, Hanmer Springs, then take the

scenic highway west of Christchurch on the canterbury plains, then down towards Twizel, etc.

I guess some members might want to recommend other places which I haven't mentioned, but I should point out, that on our initial trip some years, we spent 6 weeks doing both north & south islands of NZ.

The places we missed out initially, were.....Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, Mt.Cook (too windy the day we tried to drive there), Dunedin, Catlins Forest Park, Te Anau & Milford Sound.

Any advice would be most appreciated.

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1. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

Personally I'd stick to the coast road, as you say you're going to travel half of the other anyway later in the trip. The piece you will miss is through nice enough scenery but really it's just hilly famland with winding roads.

And I think all the new places you're going to visit this time are excellent especially the Caitlins & AT Park. If you had the time I would squeeze in Stewart Island as well. Obviously you're also doing the Otago pen. while in Dunedin?

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

I agree that there is not much point in detouring. The "inland" road forms part of what is billed as the "scenic triangle" or some such. It turns inland at Waipara and turns back towards the coast near Hanmer Springs. The best bit IMO is the bit between Waipara & Hanmer (Weka pass) that you'll see when you return from Nelson. There are some nice wineries worth a visit around Waipara.

Cork, Ireland
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3. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

We drove Hamner Springs to Kaikoura very early in the morning to make a tour swimming with dolphins and i do agree with Zappers it is VERY WINDY, nice enough scenery, we then drove Kaikoura to Christchurch i drove most of the way as my husband was sound asleep in the passenger seat so i can't vouch for the other road as i didn't get to see much of it lol:)

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4. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

The Coastal road in my opinion is way more scenic... its about the only stretch of road in New Zealand however where the corner recommended speed signs are very accurate, don't try and go too fast :)

If you get a chance go to Doubful sound its great!!!!and often gets overlooked for Miliford Sounds.....Real journeys does a great overnight cruise there.. i went with my fiance and found it breathtaking... waaaayyyy better than Miliford in my opinion....but both are amazing, I have pictures I can forward you if you want?? and we got to see dolphins... and the staff are great.

Mount Cook is of course a must see, Abel tasman GORGEOUS.. kayaking if your in to it is a great idea around there....Queenstown and Tenau amazing and expensive... but GREAT.

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5. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

Thanks guys, I appreciate the advice, it was exactly what I wanted to know. Yes, we want to visit a couple of wineries at Waipara region, so now we will drive the coastal road to Kaikoura, and later in the day onto Picton. Thank you for the advice on the winding roads. On our last trip to the Nth Island in March this year, we drove from Stratford (new Mt.Taranaki) across to Taupo, on what is called the Forgotten Highway (beautiful country, and lots of speed signs regarding the bends, which we heeded to, in our little 1.3 litre Diahatsu car (which hugged the road well, and didn't feel so wide when oncoming traffic came around the bend

Yes, we will be coming back from Hanmer Springs in the direction of Canterbury Plains, and look forward to seeing Weka Pass, then when we get nearer to Christchurch, we want to detour onto the back scenic road, I think it was Highway 72 or 73? (Just haven't got my maps with me at the moment)

Regarding Dunedin, yes we intend to visit Otago Peninsula.

When we first visited NZ ..36 years ago with our two sons, we couldn't get over the beautiful mountains & scenery, hence the reason for going back. We stayed a few days at Lake Hawea, in caravan park (we had a motorhome), just near the Dam wall, hardly a soul living there at that time. We caught quintet salmon (there at the right time I guess), and met a lot of interesting & kind NZ people.

Queenstown, New...
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6. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

When you get to Picton, if you have the time, go out into the Marlborough Sounds.

visitpicton.com/index.cfm/…the_sounds.html

www.marlboroughtravel.co.nz/index.cfm/Home

You can take a water taxi, which will take you to a lot of places if you want to go somewhere in particular or you can also do the mail run.

http://www.mailboat.co.nz/mailrun.asp

This mail run below is done from Havelock, and goes into the Kenepuru sound

http://www.mail-boat.co.nz/

The greenshell mussel cruise at Havelock is great too!

Australia
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7. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

ChCh Kiwigirl - thanks for the websites. Yes, we had planned to do a cruise of some sort out of Picton (3 hrs), in the morning, then we have the rest of the day, to drive across to Havelock (possibly a late lunch on green lipped mussels), then slow trip to Nelson, for our 1st nights accommodation.

Many years ago, we left the south island, on the interisland ferry to Wellington, and as we sailed out of Picton, through the Marlborough Sounds, we couldn't get believe how beautiful it was, and promised ourselves, that one day, we would return, and do a cruise in the sounds.

I take it, from your website name....ChCh kiwigirl, that you live in Christchurch, is that right?...if so, I may need to ask further questions about Christchurch,. is that okay with you?

Regards Widebay.

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8. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

I should have mentioned ChCh kiwigirl, that we are both retired (early retirees), still swim, cycle, walk etc (teenage geriatrics), and we mainly love beaches, mountains, walking, cycling, cafes/good coffee, dining out, and just general sightseeing.

We have finished with the adrelian types of activity, eg. skiing, etc.

So its great when you guys give me ideas, like the Weka Pass, etc.

Ooops, forgot to mention wineries in the above. I just melt when I taste your Sauvignon Blancs (Marlborough region), but also your

other wines.

On our last trip to the Nth Island in March, we bought so much wine as we drove around, that we had to bring some back to Oz, in our checked in baggage. Of course, we can get your sauvignon blancs here in Australia, but not the variety that you have over there.

New Zealand
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9. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

Widebay have you come across this thread when researching, there is quite abit there from nestorcua regarding the Marlborough wineries;

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255116-i729-k8996…

Also have a look at possumpie's blog- the photos are fantastic.

http://possum-pie.blogspot.com/

Queenstown, New...
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10. Re: Need advice regarding road between Christchurch & Kaikoura

widebay, yes I'm in Christchurch, & happy to help where I can.