The Hurunui district is located just a short 45 minute drive north of Christchurch International Airport.
A great way to ensure you see a good chunk of this amazing place is to head along the Alpine Pacific Touring Route (APT) – a 450km journey that runs between Christchurch and the beautiful hubs of Hanmer Springs, the Waipara Valley and Kaikōura.
Tucked away amid forests and mountains, the picturesque village of Hanmer Springs is thriving – with a real buzz in the air and plenty to do, including award winning thermal pools.
The Waipara Valley is a quick 45-minute drive from Christchurch and one of New Zealand’s premier wine growing areas filled with exciting attractions. Kaikōura is a stunning coastal town that is the country’s home of ecotourism with pods of sperm whales awaiting you. In between, you’ll discover some amazing places. It's an excellent journey that you won't find anywhere else.
Driving Times & Distances
Below are the distances from Hanmer Springs (which is just 90 minutes from Christchurch).
Picton: 4 hours, 15 minutes - 286 km
Blenheim: 3 hours, 50 minutes - 258 km
Christchurch: 1 hour, 30 minutes - 131 km
Greymouth: 2 hours, 45 minutes - 214 km
Kaikōura: 2 hours - 130 km
Nelson: 3 hours, 50 minutes - 300 km
Westport: 2 hours, 50 minutes - 216 km
Shuttle & Bus Services
The following shuttle and bus services are available to and from the Hurunui district.
Hanmer Tours & Shuttle - connecting Hanmer Springs with Christchurch every day. Currently leaves Hanmer Springs at 8am and Christchurch at 1pm.
Hanmer Connection - daily service from Christchurch. Bookings essential.
Intercity (bus service) - travels from Christchurch to Picton daily. Bookings essential.
Atomic Shuttle - daily from Christchurch to Nelson and Picton. Offers shuttles to other South Island destinations.
New Zealand international airports are located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
There is no commercial airport in the Hurunui district. The closest airport is Christchurch International Airport which is a short 45 minute drive from the southern point of the district.
Rental Cars / Motorhomes
An alternative to taking a shuttle or bus is to pick up a rental vehicle. Options include cars, vans or motorhomes. Having a rental vehicle gives you the freedom to stop and enjoy your trip at your own leisure.
Petrol Stations in the Hurunui
- Z Amberley Truck Stop. State Highway 1. Open: 24 hours.
- Z Amberley. 47 Carters Road. Open: Mon - Sun 6am - 10pm
- Mobil Amberley. 91 Carters Road. Open 24 hours.
- APL Waipara Truckstop (Mobil). 9 Mt Cass Road. Open 24 hours.
- Cheviot Motor Co (Challenge). 19 Rolleston Street. Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 5.30pm, Sat 9am - midday.
- APL Cheviot Tearooms (Central Garage). 27 Hall Street.
- APL Parnassus Properties. 1227 Parnassus Road. Open 24 hours.
- Truckstop Culverden. 72 Mountain View. Open 24 hours.
- Mocketts (Challenge). 18 Mountainvew Road. Open: Mon - Sun 7.30am - 7pm
- Hanmer Springs Service Station. 154 Hanmer Springs Road. Open: 7 days, 7.30am - 6pm.
- APL Fuelstop Waiau. 12 Lyndon Street. Open 24 hours.
- G.A.S Waikari (Waikari Auto Services). 10 Weka Pass Road. Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 6pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 6pm
Driving in New Zealand
New Zealand is a great place to drive, but visitors should be aware of the New Zealand road rules. As well as the obvious ones, such as driving on the left side of the road, we have some more unusual ones, mainly to do with right of way. Visit the Land Transport Safety Authority's Overseas Drivers section for some excellent advice for international drivers in New Zealand.
The open road speed limit is 100km per hour. In towns the speed reduces, please be wary of road signage as the speed limit is not the same in every town and will vary between 50km - 70km per hour.
This is a great checklist: 'What's different about driving in New Zealand'. Produced by the New Zealand Transport Authority.