The Alpine Pacific Triangle You may hear the region you’re visiting referred to as the Alpine Pacific Triangle – this route starts just north of Christchurch and takes in the inland resort town of Hanmer Springs, and the coastal town of Kaikoura, plus the roads and townships between these locations.
Hanmer Springs - an alpine township famous for its natural, thermal pools, and only 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. The region is a popular family getaway – you’ll find heaps of fun activities, with the icing on the being a visit to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. There are hot natural pools to relax in, a full size swimming pool or the Family Activity Area, with waterfalls and animal slides. But Hanmer isn’t just about the hot pools….it’s a laid-back village tucked away amongst forests, rivers and mountains. There’s plenty of accommodation, from campsites and holiday parks, to motels, hotels or luxury apartments. Activities include jetboating, horseriding, bungy jump, family biking, paintball, farm visits or forest walks and picnics.
Getting there from Christchurch
Hanmer Springs is 135km (or 84 miles) from Christchurch.
Take State Highway 1 north from Christchurch and follow the main highway as far as the Highway 7 and Lewis Pass turn off, just before Waipara. Look out for the signs for Hanmer on your right, taking you for a short drive on Highway 7a, ending in the scenic resort of Hanmer Springs.
Transport – Hanmer Connection runs daily shuttle services between Christchurch and Hanmer Springs. The bus has regular departures and takes 2 hours. (Freephone: 0800 242 663)
Kaikoura - The seaside settlement of Kaikoura is situated on the South Island’s rugged east coast, half way between Christchurch and Picton. Famous for its sea life, Kaikoura is the place to view the world’s most acrobatic dolphins, the resident sperm whales (equivalent in size to four elephants!) and giant albatross. The town boasts the stunning, snow-capped backdrop of the Kaikoura Ranges. Activities include whale and dolphin watching, swimming with dolphins or seals, kayaking, quad bike rides, horse riding and farm visits. The town itself is big enough to offer a range of accommodation, great cafes and restaurants and delectable crayfish or fish and chips, but small enough to relax in the peace of a typical South Island town.
Getting there from Christchurch- Kaikoura is 184km (or 115 miles) from Christchurch. Take State Highway 1 north from Christchurch – as you get nearer to Kaikoura you’ll see the rugged coastline on your right, and will follow this all the way to Kaikoura. Look out for the distinctive mountain range – the Kaikouras – they’re usually snow capped and provide an unforgettable backdrop to this seaside town
Transport – Numerous companies run shuttles between Christchurch and Kaikoura, or for something different you can hop on the Tranz Scenic railway. The coast train takes just under 3 hours and must rate as one of the world’s most scenic train rides.
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