The Hurunui district is part of North Canterbury & 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 of spectacular. A journey that runs between Christchurch and the beautiful hubs of Hanmer Springs, the Waipara Valley and Kaikōura. But dont forget the hidden gems in the middle! Take your time and truly discover what is in our back yard.
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 well know and part of the coolest little wine region - North Canterbury Wine Region. It is a quick 30-minutes drive from Christchurch Airport and one of New Zealand’s premier wine growing areas filled with exciting attractions. Known for its Aromatics and unique limestone environment, this makes our Pinot Noir's some of the best in the world. You'll find organic wine and food is plentiful with many vineyards forage off their land and deliver local produce to your plates.
Kaikōura is a stunning coastal town that is the country’s home of ecotourism with pods of sperm whales awaiting you. First class award-winning marine life to enjoy all year round. 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.
Info: Click or tap over each circle for more information.
New Zealand's alpine spa village is a haven of both relaxation and adventure. For more than a century visitors have sought the rejuvenating tonic of this beautiful town.More Info
This is a place like nowhere else in the world - where mountains spectacularly meet the sea. Magnificent wildlife is plentiful and exciting adventures and fascinating history await you. This is New Zealand’s eco-tourism capital and under three hours' drive from Christchurch.
Beautifully constructed to blend with the environment and surrounding native bush, the heart of the village is Mt Lyford Lodge with an excellent restaurant, bar and a range of great accommodation. Mt Lyford’s ski field has slopes for all abilities.
Cheviot is known to most as being a great place to stop on your way elsewhere. There are some fabulous places to eat, drink, get supplies, shop and fill up your car. There's a lot more to Cheviot than you may have realised so it is well worth taking the time to visit for longer.
Christchurch is a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration and creativity thrive. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene and state-of-the-art architecture that is changing the way the city looks, feels and functions.
The primary gateway to the South Island, Christchurch Airport has an award-winning terminal which attracts more than 6.5 million passengers a year, connecting Christchurch with the rest of the world. There's plenty of places to eat, shop and relax while you await flights.Christchurch Airport
Culverden is set in the middle of the wide Amuri Basin surrounded by a stunning mountain backdrop. This delightful country township offers a variety of bed and breakfasts, nature walks and farm-stays, making it an ideal setting for travellers seeking a rural New Zealand experience.
Gore Bay along Cheviot's coastline is one of new Zealand's safest surfing beaches, while the Gore Bay Tourist Drive takes you past the spectacular Cathedral Cliffs. This is one of the region's most photogenic attractions.
The Greta Valley is a relaxed farming community where you can really get away from it all. With green rolling hills and a uniquely kiwi way of life, you can't help but relax here.
Hawarden is home to the famous Flaxmere Gardens, its also the gateway to the pristine high country Hurunui lades, which reward those who make the journey with unbridled landscapes and pure New Zealand vistas.
Travel along State Highway 7 and you'll soon come across the Hurunui Hotel and village. Once a reprieve for weary sheep drovers travelling to Christchurch, it remains an iconic landmark in the region today.
The coastal settlement of Motunau Beach is a great place to retreat and enjoy the quiet seaside ambience and local seafood. The much sought after blue cod is among the catch on offer so the beach is a popular fishing spot, while the experienced diver can enjoy an abundance of crayfish.
The township of Rotherham was established in 1877 to attract labourers to the district. Keep an eye out for the historic Watters Cottage, built by John Watters, an Irish expert wool presser in 1878, it’s been restored as a memorial to the Amuri farmers and station workers.
St James Conservation Area
The stunning St James Conservation Area is a 78,000 hectare reserve with exceptional natural features including glaciated valleys, streams, wetlands, lakes and picturesque tarns.
Waiau is a picturesque village with a rich history and a love of the outdoors. Well known as a great holiday spot for families, at its heart is a charming village green which incorporates an historic jail and some village stocks (great for a photo stop!).
Travelling via State Highway 7 to Waikari is one of the most scenic road trips in New Zealand. Waikari offers panoramic views of the Puketeraki and Kaikoura ranges and is the stopping point for the Weka Pass Railway.
The North Canterbury wine region is an Aladdin’s cave of geologically rich areas brimming with limestone, moa bones and fossils. Award-winning wineries, stunning scenic walkways and delicacy-producing farms are all here.More Info
Greymouth is a town with a history of jade hunting, gold mining and dramatic river floods.
Amberley is a bustling rural town that has a lot on offer – beaches, walkways, an excellent golf course, high quality cafés and shopping. Its nearby beach is a popular spot with a seemingly endless coastline.