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Selwyn's Great Alpine Highway - State Highway 73

Canterbury Road Trips

SUGGESTED TIME: 3 DAYS or 1 DAY with TranzAlpine

Stretching across the Canterbury Plains from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps, Selwyn is home to mountain vistas, a Lord of the Rings film location, and New Zealand's highest altitude settlement, the alpine village of Arthur's Pass.

Ski one of the Selwyn's 6 ski fields, visit Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora - New Zealand's largest coastal lake brimming with birdlife, or Lake Coleridge, a natural wilderness described as one of Canterbury's best kept secrets.

Day 1 - Jet Boating & Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area / Castle Hill

Pick up your rental car in Christchurch and hit the road. Drive the Great Alpine Highway (State Highway 73) until you reach the township of Springfield, this journey will take just over an hour.

Once you have arrived in Springfield head to Waimak Alpine Jet where you will travel by jet boat through the foothills of the Southern Alps on one of their famous Canyon Safari Tours. Then enjoy lunch in Springfield at Ned's Cafe.

In the afternoon, continue along State Highway 73 past Darfield until you reach the limestone boulders of Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area / Castle Hill. Explore the stunning landscape, don't be surprised if it conjures up memories of 'Middle Earth' as this scenic area was one of the film locations in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The front of the original Christchurch Cathedral was also made from Castle Hill limestone

Spend the evening nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps at your accommodation, Grasmere Lodge. Enjoy a gourmet dinner here.

Day 2 - Arthur's Pass & Terrace Downs Golf Resort

Start the day with breakfast at Grasmere Lodge. Then take some time to relax in their Mountain Spa.

Feeling rejuvenated, drive up to Arthur's Pass village in Arthur's Pass National Park. Once you have arrived, stretch your legs and walk through native New Zealand forest up to the stunning Devil's Punch Bowl Falls - 45 minutes return.

Getting back on the road, head down south to the Rakaia Gorge, stop for photos and a short walk. Then make your way to your lunch venue and accommodation, Terrace Downs Golf Resort.

After enjoying a late lunch at Tilley's Bar & Brasserie, spend the afternoon enjoying the resort's wide range of activities - why not challenge yourself and try something new? Choose from golf, archery, clay-bird shooting, fishing, horse riding...and more.

Tonight treat yourself to the culinary delights of the resort's award-winning cuisine in Avoca Fine Dining Restaurant.

Day 3 - Springfield & Horse Trekking

After enjoying breakfast at Terrace Downs Golf Resort, it's time to hit the road and head back into Springfield.

Once in Springfield make your way to Rubicon Valley Horse Treks, where you will experience a special 2 hour tour of the foothills and mountains of Canterbury through Rubicon Farm, a 2000 acre high country sheep farm situated in Kowai Bush.

On your way back into Christchurch don't miss a lunch stop at Darfield Bakery, a local favourite!

1 Day Option - TranzAlpine

If you only have one day, a great way to experience the Selwyn district is by train. The TranzAlpine leaves Christchurch at 8.15am, and arrives at Arthur's Pass alpine village at 10.52am.

After your scenic train journey spend the day exploring Arthur's Park National Park, walk through New Zealand native forest, enjoy lunch at a cosy cafe, and spot a cheeky kea (native New Zealand mountain parrot).

The TranzAlpine departs Arthur's Pass at 4.28pm and arrives back in Christchurch at 6.31pm.