Nelson to Christchurch – Foulwind’s and Flying Foxes.

Art Deco influenced civic building in Westport - Photo by  Ingolfson, Wikimedia CommonsArt Deco influenced civic building in Westport - Photo by Ingolfson, Wikimedia Commons

This part of a motorhome rental or campervan hire trip on New Zealand’s’ south island is full of incredible places to discover, as well as numerous opportunities for adrenaline junkies, and something for those who enjoy great food and wine.

You start your trip of 438Km in Nelson, one of the sunniest places in the country.  You’ll probably stay here longer than you expect to because of the warm welcome and the excellent food here.  The Maoris know it as Te Waka a Maui or Te Tau Ihu which means the tip of the canoe, and you’ll find many Maori artists living here because they get much of their inspiration from their surroundings.  It not just the Maoris that congregate here, the town is home to well over 350 craftsmen and artists, so the ideal place to buy a souvenir or two, its also home to some wonderful wineries and world class eateries.  

So, after a few days spent in the beautiful town of Nelson take to the road and travel the short distance to your first stop, Richmond.  Just like Nelson, Richmond has some wonderful wineries, and great beaches, but it’s also where you will find three national parks, Kahurangi, Nelson Lakes, and Abel Tasman.  There’s also the Richmond Ranges which are excellent for walking and mountain biking, and in the wintertime Rainbow Valley for some excellent skiing opportunities.  One of the top attractions of the area is Buller River, the longest in New Zealand, here you can cross the longest swing bridge, if you’ve hot the nerve, or even ride a 160 metre flying fox!

It’s good to try and reach Westport for your first overnight stop.  Westport was an old gold mining town; today it’s not gold but coal.  Go underground to experience caving, jet boating or underground rafting, or if you prefer to stay above ground why not try a visit to some of the gold mining relics or maybe a trip out to the seal colony at nearby Cape Foulwind, not the best of names but the 100 New Zealand fur seals don’t mind!

Leave Westport for your next destination Reefton, and join the heritage trail.  Reeftown was the first places in the southern hemisphere to have electric streetlights, so is known as the ‘town of light’ there are also some other interesting facts to be learned as you explore!  If interesting facts aren’t you thing then what about trout fishing?  Some would put them on the same scale, but everyone’s different and if its something you enjoy then you cannot miss Maruia Springs, home of over 40 blue-ribbon trout streams

Next stop Hanmer Springs, the place to visit for relaxation and adventure.  If you want to indulge yourself, head for the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa where you can soak in one of nine outdoor thermal pools, or if you haven’t had enough of raising your blood pressure how about bungee jumping or jet boating?  This would be a good place to spend the night before tomorrow, a day of wine tasting and lots of walking no doubt.

Today drive further south to the Waipra Valley a fast growing wine region.  Park up and only go back to your motorhome rental or campervan hire to sleep off the day!  There are so many places to choose from, many of the wineries open their cellar doors to visitors, and one place you must visit is the Mud House Winery and Café.

Today will bring you to journey’s end and Christchurch the largest city of the south island, but maybe your motorhome rental or campervan hire adventure in New Zealand doesn’t have to finish here, there’s lots more to experience if you’ve got the time.

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