Discover or re-ignite your romance on the Alpine Pacific Touring Route. There are so many opportunities to create memories and enjoy some time with your partner. Long lunches in the North Canterbury Wine Region, soaking in the mineral-filled thermal waters in Hanmer Springs or sitting together enjoying the beautiful views over the Kaikōura coastline.
From spa treatments to horse treks and intimate punting on the Avon River – it’s all here.
Head north out of Christchurch on State Highway One and you’ll soon find yourself in the stunning North Canterbury Wine Region.
Rows of vines will whip past your windows but don’t just drive through this area, stop and enjoy wine-tasting or lunch at one of the dozens of wineries.
Turn onto State Highway 7 and you’ll journey through the Weka Pass with its surreal limestone formations before turning off to reach Hanmer Springs – a simply magical place with thermal pools, boutique shopping and plenty of places to wine and dine.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
An attraction of international standing, offering a world-class experience in a stunning environment.
There are plenty of places to sit and soak in the mineral-filled waters including the adults-only AquaTherapy pools that have spouts and jets to massage away your aches and pains.
Those wanting something extra special should book some time in a Private Pool.
“These are the best hot springs I have ever been to. Lots of different pools and varying temperatures.”
“Very relaxing after a long drive. We took our books and managed to spend nearly 7 hours up to our necks in hot water!”
Hanmer Springs is also known as New Zealand’s alpine spa village.
There are more than a dozen operators in the village offering an enormous range of spa and wellness treatments.
The service offered is world class and the treatments are pure indulgence - soothing massages, blissful aromatic therapies, revitalising facials and invigorating Vichy rain showers.
The biggest operator is The Spa which offers award-winning experiences designed to help you escape the fast pace of everyday life.
“Sublime. If I could live in The Spa, I would.”
“The couples’ room was a wonderful experience and a great way to introduce my husband to the world of spa therapy. He loved it… we’ll be back!”Read more
There are a number of ways to get from Hanmer Springs to Kaikōura.
The most scenic route is via the Inland Road which takes you past the entrance to the ski village of Mount Lyford, or you can travel on the Leader Road.
The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views and starts at the Waiau township. Both routes feature plenty of photo opportunities (couple selfie time!) with the light and views around Waiau particularly special.
Riding horses is one of those quintessential romantic moments. Hanmer Horse Treks & carriages have a team of horses that will transport you through native forests, across rivers and up hills to spectacular views and unforgettable memories. Or take a quiet carriage meandering through the village in a 'New York' style carriage.
“Great experience. What a way to see the countryside.”
“Fantastic staff, relaxed horses, magnificent scenery. I am so glad we did it.”
Wonders & Views
South Pacific Helicopters showcase the unique geology of the Kaikoura area, and shows you some of the effects of the incredible earthquake that triggered over 20 faults to erupt, changing the landscape and environment forever.
“Great professional team, incredible scenery. It was the highlight of our NZ holiday.”
“Wow. What can I say. This was a trip of a lifetime.”Read More
Whale Watch Kaikōura
Whale Watch Kaikōura is New Zealand's only whale watching company with boats that operate all year round.
They offer visitors an exciting up-close encounter with giant sperm whales, who share their unique world with a host of other whale and dolphin species, seals and albatross – all of which are regularly spotted during Whale Watch tours.
A 95% success rate means a guaranteed 80% refund if the tour does not see a whale.
"No photos in the world can capture the feeling of seeing these wonderful animals live."
One of the most unforgettable and scenic parts of the Alpine Pacific Touring Route, this journey takes around 2 & a half hours.
Our advice is to take even longer so you can stop and explore the rocky coastline south of Kaikōura, detour into Gore Bay and enjoy a long lunch or wine tasting in the North Canterbury Wine Region.
Cathedral Cliffs aka The Cathedrals are a natural marvel near Gore Bay, an absolute hidden gem. Enjoy a quiet moment out of the car marvelling at how nature created something so striking and wondering why there aren’t crowds of people clamouring for a view.
“The perfect place for a selfie.”
Linger over lunch
There are a number of restaurants in the North Canterbury Wine Region. All different and all offering wonderful experiences.
For couples, Black Estate and Pegasus Bay are great options. Black Estate is a remarkable place for organic wine & food and even has a B&B in a romantic and secluded setting. Pegasus Bay’s multi award-winning restaurant overlooks a beautiful manmade lake and gardens and is the perfect place for a stroll.
“Pegasus Bay is the best winery I have ever visited.”
“What a stunning spot with a sparkling view of the Waipara Hills and Black Estate vineyard.”
Punting on the Avon
Sit back in style and glide along the tranquil Avon River in Christchurch, with a skilled punter in traditional Edwardian attire propelling you slowly along the water and pointing out highlights.
Depart from the historic Antigua Boat sheds which will take you through the Botanic Gardens.
Choose from either a 30-minute tour that is a shared ride ($30 per adult) or enjoy a 45-minute private ride ($50 per adult).
“It was bliss and beautiful, our day was made.”
“A charming, traditional experience.”
Experience the majestic sperm whale, playful dusky dolphins and Kaikōura's incredible scenery from above. Wings Over Whales offers year round flights with every passenger having their own window seat and aboard a high winged aircraft so you can enjoy fantastic, unobstructed views.
This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful experiences on earth.
“Fantastic sperm whale encounter. We never expected it to be that breathtaking from above.”Read more
Located in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Hapuku Lodge is a 5 star Eco-Retreat just a few kilometre’s north of Kaikōura.
Nestled 30 feet in the air, the tree houses sit among a native Kanuka Grove underneath the majestic Kaikōura Mountains. This is luxury at its very best.
“Perfect combination of luxury and comfort in an exceptional location.”
“The best stay during our New Zealand trip.”
The Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway juts out from the rugged east coast with a backdrop of steep mountains.
Amble along the walkway observing seals and seabirds, explore historic pā and whaling sites and enjoy the clifftop views of the sea and mountains. This walk takes three hours but you can also explore a range of shorter tracks.
“Make sure you take a camera because the views are fantastic.”
“This is one of the nicest walks we did in New Zealand.”
The Pamper Pack is a great escape just 90 minutes from Christchurch for 2 people
* includes complimentary use of the outdoor pools
Click here to find out more.
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