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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 there

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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.

If

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Havelock

Cockles and mussels alive, alive oh

Havelock is a small town with a population of around 500 located at the head of the Pelorus Sounds, where the Pelorus and Kaium Rivers join. It’s a great coffee stop on the drive between Blenheim and Nelson.

Colourful down-town Havelock

Once a thriving town at the centre of the timber milling industry, today, it is better known for its small boat harbour and its harvest of green-shelled mussels, and also for being the gateway to the beautiful Pelorus Sounds. The town itself is small and it’s a place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the major centres. However, it is well-equipped for its

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St Arnaud

A place to get away from it all

Eels under the At Arnaud Jetty

St Arnaud is located on the shore of Lake Rotoiti and is a gateway and base to experience and explore the Nelson Lakes National Park. You can canoe, powerboat, water ski, windsurf and swim in the lakes in summer. In Winter, ski on the nearby Rainbow Valley Ski-field, or just curl up by the fire in one of homestays to enjoy the scenery are the activities for winter. Hiking is popular year around though the tracks can be very wet in winter.

Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa are the defining characteristics of the area. With beech forest to the shores around nearly

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Murchison

A rural place in between

The town of Murchison (pop 750) is near the junction of the Matakitaki and Buller Rivers, surrounded by rugged mountain ranges, and is situated on the Buller Gorge Heritage Highway some 125km south of Nelson and 300kms northwest of Christchurch.

Reflections in the mist outside of town

The town was founded on gold and saw milling and is now an important service centre for the travelling public as well as the local farming, forestry and recreation community.

In 1929 ten people died during the Murchison earthquake and the Murchison Museum has a special display about this disaster. In the quake the settlement was lifted almost half a metre, and the Murchison falls

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Haast

The remote south west

Ready for adventure

South Westland is a land of timeless, spiritual beauty, Haast Township is set amidst a world heritage rain forest and is home to adventure charter services and a few farms with access to Mt Aspiring National Park. For the nature lover well worth a 2 – 3 day stay.

Activities include: Guided nature tours. Local walks – the Hapuka Estuary Walk, (starts from the motor camp) and the Ship Creek Walk, (starts from the Lake Moeraki road). Bird watching, see fantails, tui’s, bellbirds, pigeons, silvereyes, parakeets, and if lucky, falcon, kaka, kiwi and morepork. Helicopter flights, jet boat rides, fishing, hunting and river safaris.

Drive south to

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Hokitika

Gateway to Glacier Country and the South West

The beach at Hokitika river mouth.

Only a half hours drive south of Greymouth, Hokitika is a seaside town that exudes the timeless characteristic of the region. This timelessness soon settles on one and it’s easy to relax and live how you feel rather than follow any mechanical schedule.

The substantial Hokitika river flows by the town and most days provide magnificent views of the Southern Alps which divide the South Island from North to South and there are a wide range of activities for young and old.

The area is rural with agriculture and forestry playing an important role. There’s a rich local history of gold mining and

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Punakiki

Where you’ll find the pancake rocks

Punakaiki is a recreation area situated just over a half hours drive north from Greymouth, or south from Westport on the coastal road. Punakaiki for most people makes for a good break to get some fresh air and walk out to the pancake rocks, (good wheelchair access) to view the unusual pancake rock formations and the blow-holes from which columns of sea water can spray up in favourable sea conditions as in the video below.

There is a an excellent visitor centre with information on the area from early history, geology, and information on walkways within the Paparoa National Park and this whole coastline was infamous as

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Westland

A region left out

Westland is an area bounded by the Southern Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west is only 10 miles wide by some 600 miles long. At one time this region had more hotels than any other per head of population. The town of Westport once had 26 hotels on its main street, now it may have only 5.

Places to visit are the museums in most towns for relics of pioneer life. The pancake rock formations at Punakaiki. Shanti-town near the town of Greymouth, where you can pan for gold and see how the early settlers lived. There are opportunities to walk and climb in the valleys, mountains

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Nelson

The Northern Center of the South Island

The Nelson and Westland districts comprise the north and entire west of New Zealand’s South Island. The region is geographically isolated from the rest of New Zealand. Nelson, Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika are the major towns with a good range of accommodation and services.

The region provides access to six national parks and wilderness areas. As such much of the recreation is centered around outdoor activities including trekking, climbing, caving, swimming, kayaking, hiking fishing and hunting. While there are cinema’s and TV, evening entertainment often centers around the local bars, or you create your own.

Nelson is a great destination for tourists. At the top of the

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