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Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

Portland, Oregon
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7 posts
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Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

My husband and I are planning a 17-day trip on the South Island in early-mid April. At the end of our trip, we are kayaking in Abel Tasman/Golden Bay. After that, we have 1.5 full days to get to Christchurch to catch our flight home (departing at 4 pm).

What's the best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch (keeping in mind that we have limited time, but would like to see as many sights as possible)?

1) via Nelson and Kaikoura

2) via Greymouth through Arthur's Pass

3) via Murchinson through Lewis Pass

We initially planned to spend our last night in Christchurch. Now I am considering spending the last night somewhere along one of these routes, as long as it's not too far from Christchurch and the airport.

To give you are idea of our interests: We are an active couple in our early/mid 30's. We will be rock climbing, hiking the Routeburn Track, kayaking in Milford Sound, going to Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers, and staying in Punakaiki before heading to Abel Tasman. We prefer spending time outdoors over browsing shops, etc. We have seen amazing whales in Hawaii and would likely pass on a whale watching excursion in Kaikoura.

Thanks in advance for your help!

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

Welcome to the forum H :)

All three routes have highlights so you won't be disappointed with any of them.

My preferred drive is via Arthur's Pass.

So-

day one drive Nelson to Arthur's Pass, enjoy some good walking

day two continue to Chch and fly out.

You have a great trip planned, enjoy :)

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

My pick, given that you have already driven the west coast would be (c) through Lewis Pass with an overnight stop at Hanmer Springs.

Of course there is more to do in Kaikoura than just the whales - you can swim with Dolphins or just walk around to the seal colonies as well as enjoying some Marlborough wineries & coastal scenery enroute!! Too many choices.

Christchurch, New...
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for South Island
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3. Re: Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

Zhuhai's suggestion is quicker but WL's is far more scenic in my opinion and is the way I would go. The road through Kaikoura is a lot busier and for about an hour around Kaikoura the road follows the coast. However it can be a long day if leaving from Nelson or further around the Bay. My wife now refuses the Lewis option as it can be a bit "claustrophobic".

However there aren't really any bad choices here.

4. Re: Best route between Abel Tasman and Christchurch

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