Travelling from Greymouth to Christchurch? Take the scenic route with a road trip along State Highway 7 for unmissable views, scenic stops, and outdoor adventures. Starting from the Western shore of the South Island and ending in the vibrant heart of Christchurch, this drive is ideal for moments of solitude combined with the energy of vibrant city life.
Get Started in Greymouth (Māwhera)
Your journey starts on the Western shore of New Zealand’s South Island, where the Grey River meets the Tasman Sea in Greymouth - the largest town on the West Coast. With a rich history of pounamu (jade) hunting and gold mining, it’s known for its artsy culture and coastal atmosphere. For those interested in all thing’s art and the history behind pounamu, visit Garth Wilson Jade to see live carving demonstrations and take home a piece of the famed Greymouth greenstone. Admire the works of local artists at Left Bank Art Gallery, or if photography is more your thing, head to the Nimmo Gallery + Studio to view shots encapsulating the dramatic landscapes of the West Coast. At Monteith’s Brewery, beer and cider lovers can enjoy tasting trays, tours and browse the free museum to discover the history of craft brewing in New Zealand. Remember to assign a designated driver if you’re heading to a tasting. Get out into nature with a walk along the Woods Creek Track- a 27-minute drive from Greymouth passing through 19th-century tunnels built by gold miners. Be sure to check local signs and websites to make sure the track is open before your visit.
Marvel at the Mountains in Lewis Pass (Maruia)
As you journey through the Southern Alps, visit Lewis Pass for a scenic stopover. As the Highway stretches through the Pass, you’ll see the mountains and forest views from the car window or, you can take a moment to park the car and stretch your legs. There are a few walks and tracks you can take to view the Pass and the surrounding Maruia River from the ground. The Lewis Pass Alpine Nature Walk is an easy trail with plenty of opportunities to photograph the stunning scenery. Looking to make a longer stopover? Use this time to indulge and treat yourself to a day out at the Maruia Hot Springs. At the base of the mountain, you can bathe in natural hot springs, enjoy impeccable views from a rock sauna and feel your stress melt away in the steam room. Whether you’re stopping over or driving through, Lewis Pass offers endless views of lush greenery and high mountaintops.
Stopover or admire the views from the car
The northernmost mountain pass in the South Island
Walking tracks and photo opportunities
Maruia Hot Springs
Discover Hanmer Springs (Waiau)
An hour further along the Highway, take a slight detour and step into the resort-style town of Hanmer Springs. A popular tourist town nestled amongst picturesque mountain landscapes, it’s the perfect place to spend the day - or even a night, with accommodation available. Explore the range of gift shops, boutique stores and galleries in the village and grab a bite to eat at a cafe or casual eatery. Looking for adventure? Tick bungy jumping off your bucket list with a plunge off the Waiau Ferry Bridge - an experience you’re bound to remember! For nature lovers, the Dog Stream Reserve Walk in the Hanmer Forest Park is an easy trail. Head here for a relaxing stroll amongst the forest trees and keep an ear out for the peaceful sounds of native birds.
Make the Most of Christchurch (Ōtautahi)
Finally, you’ve arrived in Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city. Aptly referred to as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch has plenty of greenery and parkland to explore. We recommend checking out the Christchurch Botanic Gardens (Te Māra Huaota o Waipapa) for a peaceful day relaxing among the native trees and flowering blooms. For a delicious experience while you’re in Christchurch, visit the Riverside Market, open seven days a week. The Market is the ideal place to try out local food and explore laneways lined with cafes, restaurants and bars. Explore the Avon River that flows through the city with a row or paddle at the Antigua Boat Sheds, or if it’s beach weather, head to Sumner Beach for a day of sun, sand and surf. While you’re here, it’s important to remember the earthquakes that shook the town in 2010 and 2011. See the city’s efforts to rise above the devastation and rebuild with a trip to the Christ Church Cathedral.
With so much to explore along the way, hikes aplenty and stretches of shoreline, this route guarantees hours of fun and room for exploration. Slow down and take in the unique surroundings of the Southern Alps while road-tripping across the rugged terrain of the South Island. No matter where you stop throughout your journey, you’ll witness scenic views and feel that relaxing feeling sink in. Make your trip around the South Island a convenient and affordable journey with an Ace rental car.