New touring route showcases Kaikoura and North Canterbury

Tourists wanting to explore New Zealand’s northern Canterbury region are being encouraged to take their time on a new touring route.

The main attractions on the Alpine Pacific Touring Route, through the rural countryside north of Christchurch, encompass food and wine, spectacular alpine and coastal landscapes, marine wildlife encounters, year-round outdoor adventures and an alpine spa.

The Alpine Pacific Touring Route, which brings together three neighbouring districts, has been designed to reinvigorate the region affected by the Kaikoura earthquake and showcase the best of the region along with some fascinating new coastal features.

The NZTA-approved route is a longer version of what was once known as the Alpine Pacific Triangle route. 

The 450-kilometre APT starts at Christchurch International Airport, travelling to Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs, and passing through what’s become known as ‘the coolest little wine region in the country’ - the Waipara Valley. 

Hurunui Tourism marketing manager Shane Adcock says the route includes some of New Zealand’s most popular attractions - the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs with the iconic Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, and Kaikoura with its whale watching and eco-tourism experiences.

“There are also some fantastic highlights in between – Cheviot, Mt Lyford, stunning scenery on the inland roads and a sensational coastal drive. There’s plenty to see and do making the APT a good 3 – 4 day journey.”

Destination Kaikoura general manager Glenn Ormsby hopes the relaunch of the APT will bring more tourists into town and help local businesses.

“Given the incredible attractions the APT offers, we are hoping the renewed promotion will bring some extra tourists to both the Kaikoura and Hurunui districts. It’s a wonderful trip.”

Whale Watch Kaikoura’s chief executive Kauahi Ngapora says his organisation is excited that the APT is being relanched.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of the new look Kaikoura coastline along with our majestic marine life. We look forward to many of our guests enjoying all that this fantastic touring route has to offer."

The route also takes in New Zealand's newest wine region Waipara, home to Black Estate, Greystone Wines and Waipara Hills among others. Waipara is a food and wine paradise that remains relatively undiscovered, with plenty to keep visitors happy.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Vic Allen says the APT takes in some of the world’s best vineyards, food trails, adventure, scenery, wildlife and spa relaxation.

“We’re encouraging visitors to take the time to stop and explore along the way, and to enjoy the best food, wine and relaxation in stunning settings.”