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The Coastal Christchurch to Nelson Tour

Estimated Travel Period: 7 Days, about 8 hours
Estimated Travel Distance: 613 kms

Best Time To Travel

Spring and Summer (September to February) provide a great opportunity to see the sights and enjoy the scenery in perfect weather. Beat the heat with a sunhat and sunscreen. Get tips on what to pack for your trip with the NZ Camping Checklist.

Discover the picturesque beaches and national parks on the west coast of the South Island with a tour that goes from Christchurch to the sunny city of Nelson.
You can use any motorhome of any size for this itinerary. We have the best campervans for hire from top Christchurch operators. Starting from Nelson? Simply follow the itinerary in reverse! Get a list of great motorhomes in Nelson.


Day 1 Christchurch to Arthur's Pass

Estimated Travel Period: about 2 hours
Estimated Travel Distance:145 km

Upon arrival, make sure to drop by the Visitor Centre to check for local and weather advisories in the area. Plan a day hike depending on the weather condition. There are many walking tracks in Arthur's Pass National Park, from a quick 10-minute trek up to Avalanche Creek Waterfall to a more challenging tramping routes up to Mount Bealey. Recommended activities for families includes the Arthur's Pass Village Historic Walk and the Millennium Walk that will take you over to a bridge where you can see the iconic Avalanche Creek Waterfalls.

Travel Tip

Arthur's Pass Village has a very limited facilities for campervans & motorhomes, so make sure to book in advance if you're planning to stay for a night or more. 

Recommended Holiday Parks

Day 2 Arthur's Pass to Greymouth

Estimated Travel Period: about 1 hour 15 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:95 kms

Start your day with a brewery tour at the famous Monteith's Brewery. Enjoy a good beer and learn about the brewing history in West Coast, New Zealand. Then head over to Shantytown, a replica of West Coast's Gold Mining Town, conveniently located 10 km south of Greymouth. Experience gold-rush history in Shantytown. Try your hands in gold panning, ride a steam train, explore Chinese settlement or simply stroll along the gold-rush village and museum.

Day 3 Greymouth to Westport

Estimated Travel Period: about 1 hour 20 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:101 kms

Before heading to Westport, you might want to drop by the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki. In Westport, take time to visit the Coaltown Museum to view the Gold Mining Exhibits. October is the best time to see the colony of seals, just take the Cape Foulwind Walkway & Seal Colony Walk that will take you to a spectacular view of the ocean and New Zealand's fur seal colony.

Day 4 Westport to Murchison

Estimated Travel Period: about 1 hour 10 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:97 kms

Welcome to the “Whitewater Capital of New Zealand”, where you can go rafting or jet boating in the Gowan and Mangles River. Murchison is also a great town for fishing or walking in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Recommended Holiday Parks

Day 5 Murchison to Totaranui

Estimated Travel Period: about 1 hour 30 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:127 kms

Abel Tasman National Park is famous for its golden beaches and lush forest. Kayaking is one of the most popular activities in the area. If you're staying for a day or more, you might want to go on one of the popular tramping tracks of Abel Tasman. Don't forget to drop by the visitor centre located in Motueka.

Day 6 Totaranui

Estimated Travel Period: about 3 hours 25 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:197 kms

Spend another day in Abel Tasman National Park. Camp out at Totaranui Bay and walk along the beach's golden sands. Swim, kayak or simply relax on your second day in paradise.

Recommended Holiday Parks

Day 7 Totaranui to Nelson

Estimated Travel Period: about 50 mins
Estimated Travel Distance:46 kms

Take a scenic drive along vast vineyards while in Nelson. Enjoy a leisurely tour of the local wineries and savor the region's Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If you think you had enough, head back to the city and experience Nelson's thriving art scene. Start with the World of WearableArt & Collectable Cars Museum,  The Suter Art Gallery (The Suter Te Arotaoi o Whakatu) and the Bead Gallery. If you're visiting on a Saturday, don't miss Nelson's famous Saturday Market for some local food, wine, art displays and crafts.

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