Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
130 km (81 miles) northwest of Christchurch lies Hanmer Springs. The famous resort town in New Zealand is known for its thermal pools, ski mountains, and picturesque landscapes.
There are also waters to enjoy white water rafting, steep terrain to bungee jump from, and mind-calming hikes through the forest trails. Indeed, quenching your spirit of adventure by exploring the wild countryside is a great way to spend free time around the Canterbury region.
Further down on the Island of New Zealand lies Christchurch, the largest city on the southeast coast. A road trip from the forested and rugged terrain in the Hanmer Springs to the coast city of Christchurch is an experience every traveler should seek out.
The 1 hour and 44-minute drive along Highway 7 from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch can take up to three days, depending on how many times you have to go to the bathroom along the way.. We’ve listed several stops and activities you should try along the way to maximize the road trip.
Stop 1: Waiau
Waiau is one of New Zealand’s top regions to explore. There are walking tracks and cycling routes to visit. The Mt Lyford Adventure Park & Lake Stella Mountain Retreat is a great place to enjoy skiing and snow-related activities in the winter.
Also, the Waiau River is the perfect location to enjoy an adrenaline-pumped afternoon with Jet Ski racing and white water rafting. Later on, walk to the Waiau Falls for some pictures and toe-dipping.
Location: Along Route 70
Directions: Drive along Highway 7, turn left to Flintoft Mouse Point Road, then left onto Rotherham Road before joining Route 70.
Hours: The car drive from Hanmer Springs to Waiau takes 35 minutes.
Stop 2: Waipara
Waipara is a picturesque wine valley 55 minutes from Hanmer Springs. This is a great town to stop and enjoy the exemplary pinot noir, lavender fields, and olive groves.
Favorite places for wine tasters include the Terrace Edge Vineyard and Olive Garden, Torlesse Wines, Waipara Hills, and Greystone Wines.
The Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park is a must-see for first-time visitors. They transformed the area from an abandoned limestone to an exhibition overlooking the Waipara Valley. It’s an excellent spot for all family members, including kids.
Location: Along Highway 7
Direction: Drive south along Highway 7 until you get to Waipara.
Hours: Bachcare recommends at least one overnight stay to enjoy the wine and rest.
Stop 3: Amberley
Amberley is a rural town 87 km (54) south of Hanmer Springs. It’s a beautiful town surrounded by wineries, farms, and a beach with an endless coastline.
It takes approximately 1 hour to drive from Hanmer Springs to Amberley. Find an overnight place to stay in, especially if you plan to enjoy the wine. First, take a picture with the famous Charles Upham statue before enjoying dinner and wine at the Pukeko Junction Regional Wine Centre and Gallery.
Be sure to stop by Amberley Beach for a stroll on the peddled sand. The winds here are slightly strong, making the beach excellent for evening strolls.
Location: Along Highway 7.
Direction: Drive along Highway 7.
Hours: It depends on the activities you do. If you choose to stay for wine tasting, be sure to book an overnight stay with Bachcare.
Stop 4: Rangiora
If you’re cruising on the road in your car or camper, one of your stops should be Rangiora. This is the largest town in the Waimakariri District in Canterbury.
Stop at Rangiora for a takeaway meal to enjoy with the family before taking a thirty-minute drive to the Glentui Loop Track. Drive North towards Cones Road, and turn into Dixons Road, and keep moving west.
The trail is neither too long nor too short and has the right amount of terrain to challenge you and the kids without draining you. What’s more, it has a beautiful picnic area for lunch.
However, it gets a bit muddy depending on the season, so it’s best to have the right footwear for the walk.
Location: Turn right onto Tulls Road, join Coldstream Road before turning into Ashely Street.
Directions: When traveling from Hanmer Springs, Rangiora is 1 hour and 23 minutes from Hanmer Springs and 113 km (70 miles) along Highway 7.
Hours: The track is open during the day. However, you can call in to confirm.
Stop 5: Waikuku
106 km (66 miles) from Hanmer Springs lies Waikuku, a town best known for Waikuku beach. The Lavender fields are a great place to explore. Be sure to bring your paddles and swimsuits and join other beach enthusiasts in the water and sandy beaches.
The Taranaki Reserve is another great spot to visit near Waikuku Beach. The 1,404 ha Tapuae Marine Reserve has various birds, wildlife, and scenic landscapes to discover.
Location: Along Highway 7
Directions: Maintain your drive along Highway 7. Alternatively, you can connect from Rangiora, which is a 9-minute drive.
Hours: Schedule at least two hours to enjoy the beach and its surroundings.
Last Stop: Kaiapoi
Kaiapoi is a river town just north of the Waimakariri River. In its former days, the town served as an essential trading center and has grown into a picturesque town worth exploring. It’s an extensive suburb with plenty of shopping centers to grab some clothes, souvenirs, and food.
If you do nothing else, make sure you stop by the river’s shoreline and watch the water. You might catch several pictures of birds and boats cruising the waters. You can also book the River Queen for a 2-hour boat ride and onboard entertainment. There is also a small market with fresh produce which you can carry for a homecooked meal in Christchurch.
Location: Kaiapoi is 114 km (71 miles) from Hanmer Springs.
Direction: Drive along Highway 7 until you see the Kaiapoi road signs.
Hours: The boat cruise takes 2 hours, and exploring the town may consume an additional two hours.
Book a Christchurch holiday home on Bachcare to rest after a long trip from Hanmer Springs.