ourdriveguide.co.nz Christchurch to Kaikoura Self Drive Travel Guide

Drive Christchurch to Kaikoura

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Christchurch to Kaikoura
Canterbury Self Drive Travel Guide

Travel Information  Travel Facts
Distance: 183 km (114 miles )
Approximately: 2 hours 50 minutes
Road Conditions: State Highway 1

There are two possible routes between Kaikoura and Christchurch, this Guide follows the more direct Coastal route.

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Christchurch - Waipara - Cheviot - Kaikoura

Following State Highway 1 from Christchurch the obstacles are the Waimakariri, Ashley and Hurunui Rivers before the Hundallee Range and the Coastal drive to Kaikoura.

After crossing the Waimakariri we pass to the west of Kaiapoi 14kms north of the city as the road slowly climbs through Woodend and Amberley before meeting State Highway 7 from the Lewis Pass at Waipara, approximately 60kms from Christchurch.

Set at the southern end of the Greta Valley, Waipara has several wineries in the area, and the Weka Pass Steam train excursion. From January through to the end of March the train departs at 11.30am and 2pm, during the remainder of the year it runs on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.


Christchurch - Waipara - Cheviot - Kaikoura

From Waipara the highway climbs steadily up the Gret Valley crossing the Hurunui River just south of Domett nad Cheviot. Gore Bay (15minutes east of Cheviot), is a popular picnic, surf and safe swimming spot. There are no shops at Gore Bay but there are a number of Cafés in Cheviot and Domett.


Christchurch - Waipara - Cheviot - Kaikoura

From Cheviot it is about 70kms to Kaikoura crossing the Conway River as we wind through the Hundalee Hills before beginning the descent to the Coast line, and the settlements of Oraro, Goose Bay and Peketa along the rugged coast south of the Kaikoura Peninsular and township.


Christchurch - Waipara - Cheviot - Kaikoura

In Maori, "kai" means food, "koura" is Crayfish (lobster). But it is today not just the succulent seafood for which Kaikoura is known. Indeed it is watching the ocean mamals that has enhanced the entire experience of Kaikoura as a holiday / tourist mecca.

There are a plethora of things to do and sights to see around the township, kayaking, mountain biking, hunting and fishing, diving, dolphin and bird watching with Whale Watching by boat, plane or helicopter perhaps being the most popular.

Yet all that is before you begin to explore the history and culture of the people and region or take to any of the numerous walking tracks around the region or spend your time swiming or surfing.

Those succulent morsals provided by that rugged coastline and ocean can still be enjoyed in a number of good eateries after which there are many walks to enjoy as you take in all that is Kaikoura, from the plentiful seafood, to all the scenic beauty and wonder. A must stop is the Visitor center on the waterfront.


Welcome to Kaikoura - enjoy your stay

This Guide last Updated: February 2011.


Driving Distance and Times


The distances and times are based on travel at an average of 80 to 90kmph in good weather and light to medium traffic, allowing for a break of 10 minutes from driving in each full hour.

Allow extra time for:
Sight seeing, Heavier traffic conditions, Inclement weather and any other needs you have.

There are many factors beyond the authors and our control that can and will impact upon the true distance travelled and time taken to complete any journey.

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