7 Day Canterbury Road Trip | Apollo Campervans NZ
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7 Day Canterbury Road Trip

Explore New Zealand's South Island

Great Family Parks

A road trip around the Canterbury region will introduce you to some of New Zealand’s best scenery. Book your Apollo campervan rental and follow our itinerary for an exciting Canterbury road trip that includes breathtaking views, indulgent experiences and exciting adventures.

Day 1 – Christchurch Apollo Branch to Hanmer Springs

Distance: 130km

Travel time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Pick up your Apollo Campervan from our Christchurch branch and begin your journey North. A 90 minute drive along State Highways 1 and 7 will take you through North Canterbury’s stunning countryside to the resort town of Hanmer Springs. Get ready for a relaxing and indulgent afternoon. The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa provide hot mineral springs and rock pools with spectacular mountain views. If you’ve got the kids in tow, they will be entertained for hours with the epic outdoor complex offering a selection of aquatic thrills and hydro slides. The Spa offers a range of massage and treatment packages tailored to suit your needs. After an afternoon of pampering, check out one of the many eateries scattered along the main streets. Fire & Ice is a good spot for a cosy dinner by the fire, or check out O’Flynns Irish Pub for a hearty pub style meal.

Where to stay: A great pet friendly accommodation option is Alpine Adventure Holiday Park. The park offers powered sites for your campervan, with clean and modern facilities to use. Only a short drive from the centre of town makes it the ideal spot to enjoy some relaxation.


Day 2 – Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura to Leithfield

Distance: 274km

Travel time: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Say goodbye to Hanmer Springs as you head down the inland route towards the coastal town of Kaikoura. Stop in for some delicious fresh seafood, including mussels, cod, oysters and crayfish. As you head back South towards Christchurch, a stop to see the New Zealand fur seal colony is a must. Make sure to pull off into one of the parking bays so you can snap some photos of the seals as they sunbathe on the rocks. Continue on towards Waipara, enjoying the coastal and countryside views as you drive. In Waipara you will be spoilt for choice with a large number of wineries to visit for some wine tasting. The North Canterbury Wine Region is world renowned, so be sure to try some of the popular Pinot Noir or Riesling varieties.

Where to stay: Leithfield Beach Holiday Park is a family oriented seaside camp. Set up camp here and you’ll be in for a peaceful and restful night’s sleep. If you book in advance, you can even request a cheeseboard on arrival, the perfect way to end the day!


View from Black Estate Winery over looking the Waipara Valley, Canterbury, New Zealand


Day 3 – Leithfield to Lake Tekapo

Distance: 214km

Travel time: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Get the campervan ready for a bit of a drive this morning - it’s time to head down into the spectacular Mackenzie District. First, take the inland scenic route and stop off at The Famous Sheffield Pie Shop which is, debatably, home to the world’s best pies. Be warned, these pies are addictive! Another 3 hours of driving and you will arrive in Lake Tekapo. No matter the season, the area has a lot to offer, with unforgettable views across the stunning glacier-fed lake. Renowned for stargazing thanks to the crisp, clear night skies, a night’s stay in Tekapo is a must. Guided stargazing tours operate from Wednesday to Sunday, a unique experience which will introduce you to the impressive Southern night sky.

Where to stay: Lake Tekapo has a range of accommodation options from campervan sites situated right by the lake, to luxury motels and hotels.


Day 4 – Lake Tekapo to Aorangi Mount Cook

Distance: 106km

Travel time: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Today starts with an hour’s drive alongside the stunning Lake Pukaki. Take your time to stop for photographs, it’s one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. Hope you brought your hiking shoes, because it’s time to get out in nature! Arguably one of the South Island’s greatest short hikes is the Hooker Valley Track. An easy 3 hour return hike, the track provides spectacular views of the Mueller Glacier, Hooker Lake and Aorangi Mount Cook. On a clear day this walk is a truly memorable experience.

Where to stay: Mount Cook Village has a variety of places to stay, most with stunning views of Aorangi Mount Cook. Or, choose to head back to Tekapo for another night of star gazing.


Hooker Valley Track, New Zealand


Day 5 – Aorangi Mount Cook to Geraldine

Distance: 200km

Travel time: 2 hours

Next up: Geraldine. On the drive back towards Christchurch you will find this charming village. Foodies will love a visit to Barkers Foodstore & Eatery, where you can sample some of the delicious New Zealand made Barker’s range. With a very relaxed atmosphere, Geraldine is the perfect quiet spot to spend the night.

Where to stay: The Farmyard Holiday Park is a wonderful experience for the kids (or kids at heart!) and a great option for accommodation. The Park has a huge range of animals to see, pet, feed and they even offer pony rides! The facilities are updated and clean, with a range of amenities on offer. An epic playground, a swimming pool, games room and TV lounge makes this the perfect family friendly destination.


Day 6 - Geraldine to Christchurch

Distance: 135km

Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Time to head back to Christchurch. There’s so much to do in and around the city, you’ll want some time to explore before you head home. Head into the city for an afternoon of shopping and food. There is something for everyone as the central city offers big brand name shops as well as smaller, boutique stores. With everything you could want within easy walking distance, a shopping spree is on the cards! Riverside Market is another must visit. The bustling indoor market is home to retailers selling local produce, sweet treats and meats, alongside a fantastic selection of restaurants and bars. Continue on down Oxford Terrace where you will find an array of fun, vibrant bars. After an evening of shopping and eating, it will be time to set up camp for the final evening.

Where to stay: North South Holiday Park is the ideal spot to spend your last night. Located only a few minutes from the Apollo campervan depot, it’ll be easy to drop your campervan off tomorrow before you head home.


Day 7

Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to the campervan that’s been your home for the last 7 days. With so many potential routes to travel from Christchurch, we hope you will return soon to discover more of the beautiful South Island. If you’ve got an urge to continue travelling, the flexibility of travelling in a motorhome or campervan makes it easy to extend your holiday!

Ready to explore?


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