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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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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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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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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Day 1: After an easy drive from Christchurch, a night in Hokitika, waking to a perfect day and topping up with gas, we drove out to Lake Kaniere, a jewel of a lake less than a half hours drive on a nice sealed road.
Already at 10.00am the kids are swimming and several boats are out towing water skiers. There are several tempting walkways here however we carried on following the 8km narrow dirt road and into the dairying expanse of Kokotahi and around to the Hokitika Gorge with its easily accessible swing bridge and walkway which made a pleasant 40min relaxing stroll although some commented the walk back from the swing bridge was ‘easier going
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A tranquil lakeside village
The jetty at Moana
Situated half an hours drive inland from Greymouth, and on the tourist route to Arthurs Pass, Moana is a recreation village set on the shore of Lake Brunner.
Much of the land around the lake is farm, forest and mountain, and only accessible by boat or on foot. There is an extensive local history from the early days of gold prospecting, the development of forestry and farming. The place to find out local history is asking the local people, often the hotel bar is the ideal place for this.
Activities often centre around the lake. There are swimming beaches and you can hire power boats and
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Along Highway 6
Franz Joseph Glacier
This region from Whataroa to Haast referred to as South Westland is considered so grand, that UNESCO has declared it to be as important as the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Mt Everest and other natural global treasures. This region is a treasure trove of rugged mountains, picturesque lakes with many opportunities to stop and experience nature.
This region can give you 4 seasons of weather in one day, or it can rain for a week, but whatever the weather it does not disturb the grandeur, so do pack some insect repellent, sturdy shoes and a good rain coat. You can drive by quietly enjoying the majesty in comfort, or get
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