Wanting to visit my nieces, my Nana and see some more of the country, my mum Donna and I decided to do one of the most popular road trips through New Zealand.
Starting from home in Murchison (where if you were visiting most likely you would start in Nelson, or Picton from the ferry), we would drive over the mountainous Lewis Pass and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. From Christchurch, we would journey over the beautiful Porter’s and Arthur’s Passes, before stopping Greymouth. From there, we would follow the scenic Great Coast road down through Punakaiki and the mighty Buller Gorge before making our way back to Murchison.
Starting in the lush green of the New Zealand native bush via State Highway 65, we set off on the 4 hour, 291km journey to Christchurch. The road winds it’s way up into Lewis Pass, and into the great Southern Alps. We drove past the Maruia Hot Springs a Japanese style baths in the natural hot springs that pop up in the valley. There are a couple of free springs on the side of the road, but I can’t remember exactly which rest stops these are in.
The Lewis Pass is a National Reserve, there are multiple hikes through here such as the St James Walkway (which is on my bucket list!). We stopped for coffee at Springs Junction, where State Highway 65 meets State Highway 7 before heading off through the mountains.
Hanmer Springs, another geothermal reserve is on the other side of the pass, and is definitely worth stopping off at. A cosy mountain town with a beautiful resort, it’s a great place to stop and rest up, soaking in the hot water and enjoying the mountain views. one of my favourite places in NZ!
Driving down the mountains, the plains open up and have some great vistas out over them. I love how flat it is here, but that you can still see the mountains, even right in the middle. This area is mostly farmland and horticulture, supporting the big Canterbury dairy industry. A great place to stop for a snack is the Red Post Cafe in Culverden, I love their salmon quiche and salad, and their berry smoothies.
The road into Christchurch is fairly uneventful, we stopped off at my brother’s house to visit his family, before winding our way into the city. I’ll talk about where we stayed and another great place we ate in another post!
And while we’re talking roadtrips and getting excited to hit the road ourselves, have you ever thought about doing it in a van?
My friend Sabrina over at backpackinglikeaboss.com has The Ultimate Guide to Your DIY Campervan Conversion over on the blog. Head over and check it out, and see how you can do your own badass van conversion!