The drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura should take you about 2 hours depending on the traffic and how fast you can get through the hills. The road from the Hunderlee Bridge to Oaro is very windy so be prepared. Once through the Hunderlees and onto the coast at Oaro you get a very nice drive beside the East Coast beach and rocky coastline that typifies this part of NZ.
The coastal road is the same and now has a reduced speed limit of 80kph due to the number of accidents and near misses. This could be due to the number of trucks and Campervans (RV's) using this road. Other motorists can get edgy about having to drive slowly behind these vehicles so be aware.
There are some stunning photo opportunities here but not always a safe place to stop so please be very careful to check for traffic before stopping.
If you are well prepared you can bring some bubbly with you and pick up a cooked cray on the way into Kaikoura at Nins Bin or Cay's Crays.
from Wellington to Picton, you got the take the Ferry through Cook Strait. and Picton is worth of a visit anyway..small NZ Town, very pleasant atmosphere...stay for a coffee before you go ahead with your travels.
go to my NZ Page for all sorts of useful websites!!
to Christchurch...as I said before once a day. best transport, for my liking is the car...but be aware, State Highway 1, north of Cheviot into Kaikoura is quite a dangerous road, close to the Railway lines, right beside the Ocean...through tunnels and sharp bents, navigating your way behind big Trucks is no mean feat. the speedlimit is 80km/h...but you can't realy sustain that, the road is too winding.
Rental car in New Zealand is not costly and the petrol is reasonable(about $1.09/litre).If you take the car for a long period e.g.3 weeks,you can probably get the rental down to approx. $25/day.Look at the yellow pages in Christchurch and you can simply pick and choose as there are so many companies offering the service.You can arrange to take it from Christchurch/Picton and leave it in other centres.
Tours take 2 1/2 hours
Winter tours available daily at 2pm
Summer season (October to March) have 3 tours daily which include:
Champagne breakfast - 7:00am
Afternoon tour - 1:00pm
Sunset Tour - 6:00pm
tours are subject to weather and sea conditions.
Pick up Points are from the Kaikoura Information Centre
The TranzCoastal travels between the delightful port of Picton and Christchurch. This journey is a scenic feast, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Along the way you pass though the village of Kaikoura, where you can break your journey to take in the whale watching or dare to get closer and swim with the dolphins or try the local seafood .
Travel through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas, and see amazing wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your carriage.
The TranzCoastal travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges, one of them being New Zealand’s only road-rail bridge. As on The TranzAlpine, The TranzCoastal includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air.
go to the Info Center or Railway Station an ask for the Transcoastal..,Prices can change in a year or two..once daily passage to Christchurch or Picton
compare at the website below
such showing what you can expect...klick on the pick.
one little piece of advice, drive through Waihau, the roads are seald now and the scenic drive is just what the doctor ordered
I caught this 'Atomic Shuttle' bus in downtown Christchurch for the 2 hour ride up to Kaikoura.
I think it was about $20 US for the ride. Much cheaper than the train.