NZ Winter Adventure – Part Three: Christchurch to Wanaka Road Trip

Following a weekend exploring Christchurch, Methven and Ashburton I drove from Christchurch to Wanaka. Direct driving time for the 430km trip is just over five hours, but in reality it takes all day. Starting out from Christchurch right on 9am, I first stopped at the Cookie Time factory which is located on the outskirts of the city.

Cookie Time Factory
Cookie Time Factory

Having purchased far more cookies than I will care to admit, I then continued down State Highway One to Geraldine. At Geraldine I turned inland and headed towards the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo.

State Highway 8 Before Tekapo
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

From Lake Tekapo, I then continued along State Highway Eight until descending into Lake Pukaki. The full beauty of Lake Pukaki cannot be stated in words or captured in photographs. Across the far side of the Lake rises New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook. The whole lake is surrounded by mountains and on the edge of the lake was a fresh salmon sashimi cafe where I had lunch.

Lake Pukaki
Mt Cook across Lake Pukaki
Mount Cook

I then continued driving on to Wanaka and after crossed one of the craziest one-lane-bridges I’ve seen I made it to the shores of Lake Wanaka.

Lake Wanaka

In total the drive from Christchurch to Wanaka took a little over six hours and featured some of the most beautiful main road scenery I’ve seen in New Zealand. As I had an hour or so before sunset I then drove around some of the shores of Lake Wanaka, including to “That Wanaka Tree”.

That Wanaka Tree

Finally I wrapped up the day with a great burger from Boa Burger.