NewZealandAtoZ on the Drive between Christchurch and Nelson through the Lewis Pass
The drive from Christchurch to Nelson via the Lewis Pass and Springs Junction through the middle of the South Island.
If you choose to drive to Nelson from Christchurch you have 2 options, the coastal drive through Kaikoura and Blenheim or the middle of the South Island through the Lewis Pass. Both are great drives but the Lewis Pass drive is a bit easier and quicker at around 5 hours vs. 5 1/2. We would suggest to do the loop, if you must get back to Christchurch, whichever way is up to you.
If it is winter you may need chains to go over Lewis Pass and take note of weather reports. If bad weather is forecast drive the coastal route. You cannot get lost either way.
The Lewis Pass gives you great New Zealand native forest and river views. In most places where you are not looking at rivers, the Pass area road just seems to be cut out of the bush with a tree canopy over the road.
There are a few places you could choose to stop on this trip including the Waipara area, for a winery visit, turn off to Hanmer Springs or go past that turn off and drive over Lewis Pass to Maruria Springs.
After Maruria Springs you turn right at Springs Junction and head to Murchison.
Murchison is where there is a great “Junk/Treasures” shop called ‘Somebody’s Treasure’. You could find some great Kiwiana here that you will not find in any tourist shop.
Murchison is about 1 hour 30 minutes away from Nelson and a relaxing drive.
You will not find many “tourist traps” on the drive, just good old New Zealand country and country towns.
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