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!