Lakeside resort town

Dawn over the lake, May 2016

Traditionally Tekapo has been a gas and comfort stop on the route between Christchurch and Queenstown. Fifty years ago the town would have had less than 100 permanent residents, but today like so many other small towns, it’s bursting at the seams and struggling to cater for the increasing number of tourists.

Back in the old days, working people from the East Coast cities and towns may have had a weekend holiday home at Tekapo where they could go boating and fishing or use the village as a base to explore further afield into the mountains. Today it has a permanent population of about 380 and is one of

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Auckland Winter

The big grey

Auckland’s 328 metre high Sky Tower

A peculiarity of Auckland city is that it’s so often overcast, not particularly cold, just that the sky is dull and given to drizzle and light rain. Actually in wintertime the beaches and outdoor recreation areas are far less crowded so don’t be put off getting out for some fresh air.

The city itself is all about cars, shopping and eating. It’s about cars because you need a car to get anywhere and to know where you’re going, you need a good navigator or a GPS unit. Over the past 20 years, the city has evolved miles of confusing motorways and it’s very easy to go in the wrong

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Highway 6

Blenheim to Invercargill – 1021 km

Blenheim – Nelson, Nelson – West Coast, West Coast – Central Otago, Central Otago – Southland

Break time in the Marlborough Sounds

This is a long scenic drive that could be squeezed into two days, but as a holiday it can take a week or more. Typically anyone travelling this entire route will commence the journey at Picton after having crossed the Cook Strait on one of the ferries, or driven north from Christchurch to Blenheim on highway one.

If commencing this route from Picton, the more popular and very scenic route is Queen Charlotte Drive, It’s a shortcut across to Havelock. This road is very winding in places, but

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Highway 7

From Waipara and Highway 1 to Greymouth and HWY 6.

Upper Waiau River with spring/early summer broom flowers in bloom.

Highway 7 is one of the four routes to the West Coast and the primary route between Christchurch, Reefton and Westport, and a longer alternate route between Christchurch and Greymouth. The section from Waipara to Springs junction is a main route to Murchison, Nelson lakes National Park and Nelson.

Waipara is home to the Weka Pass Railway, it is a small agricultural town with a focus on sheep farming and wine and home to the Weka Pass Railway.

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Christchurch - Queenstown

Approx 7 hours drive

Ralaia Salmon

Take highway one south from Christchurch from Hornby or Templeton where there is usually heavy traffic. After you pass the satellite town of Rolleston, you finally get the sense you are going somewhere.

The traffic often remains heavy and drivers really have to pay attention and although there are a number of passing lanes. The almost straight highway runs through farmland with occasional views of the alps. (If you have a extra hour to spare, take the Foothills Scenic Route to avoid highway one.)

About 30 minutes south from Christchurch you come Rakia after crossing the long concrete Rakia river bridge. There is a café, restrooms and you

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Christchurch - Nelson

Via Lewis Pass – Drive time 5 – 6 hours

Maruia River upstream from the thermal springs resort.

From Christchurch take the Northern motorway or Marshlands Road, there is usually heavy traffic through the towns of Woodend and Amberley to the turn off at Waipara. This is not a particularly exciting drive through flat farmland and it pays to keep to the speed limit as the police are often out looking to catch their quota of speeding motorists.

The road opens out through the wine growing area of Waipara where you need to turn left (Nelson can also be reached via Kaikoura and Blenheim, but this route will add an hour or so to the journey).

At Waipara

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Christchurch - Dunedin

Allow 5 – 6 hours. 364 km via SH 1

Highway near Dunedin

There are several routes out of Christchurch, from the central city and it’s usually more convenient to head on to the southern motorway or Blenheim Road which follow out onto State Highway one heading south.

If you’re in the north or west of the city, it is usually more convenient to head for the airport and the city bypass route which joins State Highway one at Hornby.

The traffic is often bumper-to-bumper any time of day, but after Templeton one can usually pick up a little speed and there are even a couple of passing bays before Rolleston. This is one of Christchurch’s newer satellite

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Christchurch to Dunedin

A personal journey – 2009

Picnic at Tinwald

My wife and I left Christchurch around 9.30am in a tolerant unhurried mood negotiating the city traffic. Departing from the city north, we drove out toward the airport onto the city circuit. Approaching Hornby the traffic became slower so we turned down Waterloo Rd to avoid the congested Hornby junction.

This took us to Templeton where state highway one traffic was thick and fast. There was also a queue to turn right to head south, so a quick left turn and a right into the next street where we turned had us heading south leaving the queued cars we had just bypassed still waiting.

Aside from the heavy traffic, the

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Christchurch - Arthurs Pass

145 Km. Allow two hours without stops

Fun in the snow on Porters Pass

This route is sometimes closed by snow in winter, so if you’re travelling then, you’re advised to carry chains.

From central Christchurch, the good and near straight two lane highway (SH 73) begins at Yaldhurst and passes through the rural townships of Kirwee, (pub and store), and Darfield, a growing rural town with several café’s, a small art gallery, crafts shops, hotels, motels and backpackers. Just through the town is the turn off point to Methven, Rakia Gorge (picnic, walking, jet boat recreation area) and the Mt. Hutt Ski area.

For those in a hurry, take the Old West Coast Road, which bypasses these

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Arthurs Pass - Greymouth

East to West

The Kea, New Zealand’s native parrot. A highly intelligent and inquisitive bird, it will steal food, lens caps and anything it can carry. They have also been known to partly dismantle vehicles.

From Arthur’s Pass village and still within the National Park, the road climbs steeply in places. There are many short walks to view waterfalls and other natural features including:

The Mt Rolleston lookout and walk way. The Temple Basin Ski area; a good day trip or a picnic. The one hour climb will give you an appetite. An alpine boarded walkway before the descent that lets you get a breath of fresh mountain air without getting your feet muddy.

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