Top of the South

Top of the South

The Top of the South Island of New Zealand is known for its mild climate, relaxed pace, untouched vistas and some of the most picturesque coastal drives in the world. Whether you’re keen to get amongst the greatest of the outdoors, or want to connect with the artists, farmers, food producers, brewers and winemakers who call this beautiful corner of the world home, the Top of the South is the perfect spot to create some idyllic New Zealand memories.


For more itinerary ideas visit the Top of the South website

Day 1

Christchurch to Kaikōura

Wave goodbye to traffic lights and head north, to a place of natural beauty, incredible wildlife and fun-filled experiences for the whole family. Hop on a wildlife tour, paddle with dolphins, learn about the local history and explore the bush tracks and coastline of beautiful Kaikōura.


  • Highlights 6
  • Distance 180KMS
  • Transport
Kaikoura Coastal Drive v3
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Highlight 1

Kaikōura Kayaks

A once in a lifetime wildlife wonderland experience, eco friendly sea kayak tours offer a safe, enjoyable, interactive experience, with little effort and a whole lot of good fun!
Whales Tale Whale Watch Kaikoura BareKiwi
Highlight 2

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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Highlight 3

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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Highlight 4

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.
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Highlight 5

Kaikōura Top 10 Holiday Park

Kaikōura TOP 10 Holiday Park extends a warm welcome to this maritime wonderland.
Bernies Dinner credit BareKiwi v2
Highlight 6

Bernie's Diner

Kaikoura’s American Style Diner together with Harmon’s Classic Car Museum. Open 7 days for breakfast and lunch

Day 2

Beachcomber Cruises

Kaikōura - Blenheim / Marlborough

Enjoy the coastal drive north towards Marlborough and keep your eyes peeled for playful fur seals. Discover one of the best beer gardens in the country, let your imagination soar at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and explore the history and magic of the Queen Charlotte Sound, aboard a classic Mail Boat Cruise.

  • Distance 128KMS
  • Transport

Day 3

Blenheim / Marlborough - Nelson/Tasman

Sink your teeth into adventure and some delicious, locally produced culinary products when visiting Nelson Tasman. Blow off some steam on the one of the world’s longest flying foxes at the Cable Bay Adventure Park, dip into the delightful world of Pic’s Peanut Butter and connect with the cute and cuddly animals at Natureland.

  • Distance 122KMS
  • Transport

Day 4

Great Coast road looking towards Westport

Nelson/Tasman - Westport

From its stunning coastline to the epic peaks of the Southern Alps, the West Coast is a place of stunning natural beauty and fun and adventure for the whole family. Dig into the Coast’s rich mining history, meet some of its cutest locals and throw yourself in the deep end with a surf lesson from a Kiwi legend.

  • Distance 217KMS
  • Transport

Day 5

Westport - Punakaiki - Hokitika

Adventure awaits around every bend as you drive along the Great Coast Road between Greymouth and Hokitika, one of the world’s most scenic coastal roads. Delve deeper into the area’s rich history with a visit to Shantytown and Gold Panning at Ross and immerse yourself in the beautiful untouched wilderness with a range of family-friendly activities.

  • Distance 140KMS
  • Transport
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks 4 credit Nimmo Photography

Day 6

Lake Brunner 1 credit Nimmo Photography

Hokitika - Lake Brunner - Hanmer Springs

It’s time to head inland to explore the incredible attractions at the resort town made famous for its natural hot springs - Hanmer Springs. This alpine playground has a huge range of family-friendly activities, from bungy, quad bike tours, river rafting, jet boat rides, claybird shooting and more - Hanmer Springs does it all!

  • Distance 310KMS
  • Transport

Day 7

Hanmer Springs - Christchurch

After a leisurely start to the day visit the thermal pools for some family fun before starting the journey south to Christchurch taking in the stunning vistas along the way.

  • Distance 132KMS
  • Transport
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools