Alpine Pacific Touring Route

Alpine Pacific Touring Route

Experience the Alpine Pacific, 450kms of spectacular scenery winding past wineries, alpine thermal pools, wild surf, and whales. The Alpine Pacific is packed with unforgettable experiences. Take your time. Savour each moment.


For itinerary ideas visit the Alpine Pacific Touring Route website.

Day 1


Take the morning to explore Christchurch, New Zealand’s newest revitalised city and a perfect place to begin your journey. Whether you’re flying or driving here, it’s worth checking out the vibrant city centre. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene and state-of-the-art architecture.

Take a stroll along the Avon River and head over the Bridge of Remembrance to the Riverside Market, a indoor farmers' market selling local produce, meat, baked goods, coffee and more. Alongside the market is Riverside Lanes, a destination boutique shopping experience with major fashion brands and even more dining options to add to those at the market.

Depart Christchurch and head your way north to the North Canterbury wine region known as Waipara Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine regions. The coolest little wine region in the country is an internationally renowned destination for food and wine, home to 90 + vineyards. There are plenty of cellar doors to visit, wine to sample and food to forage here.

Enjoy some sharing platters at Greystone’s new cellar door, see why Black Estate wins so many awards for their pinot noir, visit the family owned Pegasus Bay and its unique sustainable vineyard or stroll just stop for a quick break to stretch your legs amongst the vines.

Cycling is one of the best way to get around the wineries. Weaving through the unique landscapes, the Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail gives you access to cellar doors and cafes of wineries that look out on the expansive valley views.

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Day 2

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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. Being New Zealand’s eco-tourism capital, it would be rude to not explore Kaikoura’s diverse landscapes and visit array of marine mammals that call this coastal village their home.

Head out on a whale watching tour to encounter the giant Sperm whale, swim with some of the friendliest and acrobatic dolphins in the world or jump in a helicopter and enjoy a scenic flight over this picturesque slice of paradise – we definitely recommend a sunrise heli-picnic in the Kaikoura ranges. See a full list of things to do in Kaikōura here.

Looking for somewhere for dinner? You can’t leave Kaikōura without sampling some of our fresh locally caught seafood. Head to the Pier Restaurant for a seafood platter or down to one of the local bars in the town centre to soak up the atmosphere.

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Kaikōura Helicopters

Put yourself in the ultimate vantage point and explore Kaikōura and its many natural wonders by Helicopter.
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Whale Watch Kaikōura

Whale Watch is New Zealand's only vessel-based whale watching company offering visitors an exciting up-close encounter with the world’s largest toothed predator the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment at all times of the year.
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The Pier Hotel & Restaurant

Come and visit Kaikōura’s classic ‘Kiwi’ pub, iconic nineteenth century character hotel guesthouse and restaurant - famous for the freshest seafood and Kaikōura crayfish.

Day 3


Wake up to mother nature with a beautiful sunrise stroll along the esplanade and pop in to Café Encounter for a breakfast with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the magnificent Seaward Kaikōura Mountain range. Then jump in your car and scenic inland route towards Hanmer Springs. Winding through stunning landscapes, keep your eyes peeled for lambs in the spring and stop in at Mount Lyford for a ski during winter.

Jet the length of the spectacular Waiau Gorge with Hanmer Springs Attractions and end your day at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Enjoy the rock and sulphur pools, soak in the new cascade pools, pamper yourself at The Spa and race down New Zealand’s largest hydro-slides.

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Cafe Encounter

Café Encounter on the Esplanade is the ideal spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Open every day except Christmas Day from 7.30am until 3.00pm drop in for fresh delicious fare prepared by our super-efficient kitchen team. We offer an all-day menu and a cabinet packed with salads and light options.
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Emporium Mini Golf & Escape Rooms

The Emporium offers some great dry-land activities here in Kaikoūra. Come and play our popular 18 hole mini golf course, tucked away in a lovely quiet location with views of the mountains. It's fun for the whole family.
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Kaikoura Museum

Located in the landmark “craypot” building, in Kaikōura’s West End, our award winning Museum offers a modern and relaxed environment with a contemporary and fun approach to telling the stories of Kaikōura’s natural, social and cultural journey.

Day 4

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Start your morning right with a quick hike up Conical Hill. You will be greeted with a stunning view over the basin and fresh alpine air in your lungs. As you head back to pack up for the drive home, grab a coffee and healthy breakfast at Powerhouse Café.

For more information on the route, and for specific itineraries focusing on adventure, food and wine, family fun and romance in the region, visit the Alpine Pacific Touring Route.

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