Inland Scenic Route 72

Outdoor adventures - both gentle and daring - are your reason to follow Inland Scenic Route 72.

Itinerary Overview

Recommended Days:



172 kms

Best time of year:


Itinerary Highlights

In any season, you'll find captivating ways to appreciate the breathtaking landscapes where the Canterbury Plains meet the Southern Alps.

Commence Christchurch

While the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes caused massive damage and upheaval in Christchurch it is still a must on all itineraries.

We suggest you spend a day or two in the city which is reinventing itself in a unique way. A small area of the business district remains closed to the public, but a new "pop up" city has emerged. This ingenious use of shipping containers has brightened the environment and boosted the morale of its business community.

With over 29 retail shops there is something for everyone, whether you are looking for a casual coffee break , fine dining, exclusive designer fashion, or Kiwi-icon based products, this makes a visit to Christchurch a memorable experience.

Sight seeing Tours are available to show you the best that Christchurch has to offer, beautiful parks and gardens, quaint seaside suburbs and superb views of the city and surrounds. Look for the Red Double Decker Bus for a fun and informative tour and see some of the areas affected by the earthquakes.

Visit the International Antarctic Centre which is unique working Antarctic campus and the only one of its kind in the world. Have fun in real snow and ice or get "exhilarated" in the Antarctic Storm! Take an exciting outdoor ride on a genuine antarctic vehicle - the Hagglund. These vehicles will take you over a purpose built adventure course where you will experience the amazing capabilities of these unique Antarctic work horses.

One hours drive from Christchurch is Akaroa, a delightful "French" inspired village. Plan a day trip to explore the galleries craft stores and cafes over looking the picturesque harbour. Fresh locally caught seafood features on menus, along with fine wines from the Canterbury region. Join one of the cruises around the harbour where the dolphins "play" alongside the boat. Akaroa Harbour is the only place on the planet where you can swim with the worlds smallest and rarest dolphins - the Hector's or New Zealands Dolphin.

Recommended Activities

  • International Antarctic Centre
  • Nature Cruise at Akaroa
  • City Sightseeing Tour
  • Punt ride on the Avon River
Day 1: Christchurch-Rangiora-Oxford-Methven
2 hours
144 kms

Rangiora is the centre of the farming community of North Canterbury where you will find a well serviced main street, with a good number of cafes and restaurants. From Rangiora you will find many opportunities to explore the rural beauty of the wider region.

Oxford is a tiny country town that services the farming communities and ski fields of the region. Jet boating, fishing, horse riding and skiing are easily accessible from Oxford.

From Oxford continue towards Methven, travelling though some spectacular scenery that gradually changes from serene pastureland to the rock solid majesty of the Southern Alps, New Zealand's longest highest mountain range.

Stop at Rakaia Gorge for some hair-raising adventures. Many excellent walks can also be found in this area.

Recommended Activities

  • Horse Riding
  • Skiing
  • Fly Fishing
  • Jet Boating at the Rakaia Gorge
  • Hot Air Ballooning across the Canterbury Plains
Day 2: Methven - Geraldine
45 mins
61 kms

As you drive south to Gerladine you will pass through some of the most beautiful rural scenery New Zealand has to offer. Here, too you will come across the Rangitata River where white water rafting is incredibly exciting.

Your journey will end in this charming town of Geraldine, beautifully lined tree streets, and offers perfect mountain views, lovley walks and a vibrant boutique shopping village.

Recommended Activities

  • Whitewater Rafting
  • The Berry Barn at Geraldine