1: Christchurch to Greymouth
Estimated travel time: 3.5 hours
Starting at Christchurch Lyttelton Harbour, head west on highway 74, merge to 76 then join 73 which leads (almost) the entire way to Greymouth. This route was named 2nd best drive in the world by Conde Nest, and you can see why as the road meanders into the foothills of the Southern Alps upon passing Springfield. Quick gear changes may be necessary as hills, rivers, mountain passes, lakes, and rock formations dictate the curvature of the road. Insiders tip: Police patrol this stretch of road tenaciously, so watch those apexes. Take extra care between Ben More and The Otira river as the ‘W Coast Road’ stretch of Highway 73 becomes Otira Highway.
Starting at Christchurch Harbour
Meandering through the who’s who of NZ mountains, you’ll be presented with panorama photo opps a plenty, however make sure to stop off at Castle Hill for some the coolest rock formations and views in the country. After dropping down to the Waimakariri river gorge you’ll climb again to reach Arthur’s Pass Village. This is your halfway marker to the West Coast. Base camp for some of the best hikes in the Southern Hemi, you can smell adventure in the air, as well as some homemade cakes from The Wobbly Kea cafe. If you’re short on time we’d recommend the 15min stroll to Avalanch Creek Waterfall via the Millennium Walk.
Detour via Lake Brunner
After the pass, you’ll continue to be treated by breathtaking civil engineering which leads away from the stoic mountain marvels and into vibrant river and forest territory. Tiny towns dot the picturesque dash of impressive bridges, rippling rivers and wild foliage. Detour via Lake Brunner road for a dip one of the largest Lakes in NZ equipped with a stunning mountainous backdrop. Arnold valley road will then take you on to the old mining town of Greymouth, the largest town on the west coast. There a famous local brewery in town, which you can get thirsty for by sea kayaking, white water rafting or gold panning. Route 6 will lead you to the beach and the southern breakwater viewing platform.