Travel Times

Christchurch to Nelson via Blenheim

This table covers the journey from Christchurch to Nelson along state highway 1 via Kaikoura & Blenheim. Since the exact time depends upon where you start in Christchurch I've started from Woodend, about 30 minutes from the centre of the city on a good day.

Start Destination Distance Time Total Distance Total Time
Christchurch Woodend - - - -
Woodend Waikuku 3 km 2 mins 3 km 2 mins
Waikuku Amberley 16 km 12 mins 19 km 14 mins
Amberley Nape Nape 44 km 34 mins 63 km 48 mins
Nape Nape Gore Bay 19 km 10 mins 82 km 58 mins
Gore Bay Cheviot 5 km 4 mins 87 km 1 hour 2 mins
Cheviot Kaikoura 68 km 57 mins 155 km 1 hour 59 mins
Kaikoura Clarence 44 km 33 mins 199 km 2 hours 32 mins
Clarence Kekerengu 20 km 16 mins 219 km 2 hours 48 mins
Kekerengu Ward 23 km 17 mins 242 km 3 hours 5 mins
Ward Blenheim 44 km 80 mins 286 km 4 hours 25 mins
Blenheim Havelock 43 km 26 mins 329 km 4 hours 51 mins
Havelock Wakapuaka 64 km 1 hour 393 km 5 hours 51 mins
Wakapuaka Nelson (Best Island) 33 km 50 mins 426 km 6 hours 41 mins

For the entire journey you should add at least 63 minutes of breaks for petrol, the toilet, walking around, and quick snacks typically at Cheviot, Kaikoura & Blenheim.
Total journey time 7 hours 44 minutes.
Starting with a full tank of petrol, you can refuel at Blenheim having used about half a tank of petrol (if driving a typical car).

Nelson to Havelock

This table covers the journey from Nelson in the Tasman Bay area to Havelock, the start of the Marlborough Sounds area.

Start Destination Distance Time Total Distance Total Time
Nelson (Best Island) Hira 38 km 45 mins 38 km 45 mins
Hira Rai Valley 32 km 30 mins 70 km 1 hour 15 mins
Rai Valley Canvas Town 18 km 15 mins 88 km 1 hour 30 mins
Canvas Town Havelock 8 km 9 mins 96 km 1 hour 39 mins

Nelson to Pakawau

This table covers the journey from Nelson in the Tasman Bay area to Pakawau near the top of Golden Bay.

Start Destination Distance Time Total Distance Total Time
Nelson (Richmond) Motueka 29 km 20 mins 29 km 20 mins
Motueka Top of Takaka Hill 28 km 35 mins 57 km 55 mins
Top of Takaka Hill Takaka 30 km 27 mins 87 km 82 mins
Takaka Collingwood 33 km 42 mins 120 km 1 hour 55 mins
Collingwood Pakawau 13 km 31 mins 133 km 2 hours 26 mins

The road from Motueka to the top of Takaka Hill is fairly steep and constantly very bendy. If travelling from reasonably far away it would be a good idea to stop in Motueka for a break before travelling on this stretch of road. You need to be refreshed and able to concentrate.
The route down from the top of Takaka Hill to Takaka is far less bendy, tending to be long stretches of fairly steep road.

Pakawau to Christchurch via Lewis Pass

This table covers the journey from Pakawau near the top of Golden Bay to Christchurch via the Lewis Pass, so down the centre of the island. Again I've stopped at Woodend. Add about 30 minutes for the centre of the city on a good day.

Start Destination Distance Time Total Distance Total Time
Pakawau Collingwood 13 km 12 mins 13 km 12 mins
Collingwood Takaka 24 km 20 mins 37 km 32 mins
Takaka Glenview 6 km 7 mins 43 km 39 mins
Glenview Upper Takaka 22 km 21 mins 65 km 60 mins
Upper Takaka Top of Takaka Hill 10 km 12 mins 75 km 1 hour 12 mins
Top of Takaka Hill Bottom of Takaka Hill 15 km 17 mins 90 km 1 hour 29 mins
Bottom of Takaka Hill Motueka 9 km 8 mins 99 km 1 hour 37 mins
Motueka Tapewera 49 km 44 mins 148 km 2 hours 21 mins
Tapewera Murchison 83 km 62 mins 231 km 3 hours 23 mins
Murchison Springs Junction 83 km 56 mins 324 km 4 hours 19 mins
Springs Junction Hamner Springs turnoff 90 km 70 mins 414 km 5 hours 29 mins
Hamner Springs turnoff Culverden 22 km 14 mins 436 km 5 hours 43 mins
Culverden Waipara 42 km 68 mins 478 km 6 hours 51 mins
Waipara Amberley 10 km 7 mins 488 km 6 hours 58 mins
Amberley Waikuku 18 km 13 mins 506 km 7 hours 11 mins
Waikuku Woodend 3 km 2 mins 509 km 7 hours 13 mins

For the entire journey you should add at least 70 minutes of breaks for petrol, the toilet, walking around, and quick snacks typically at Tapewera, Murchison, Springs Junction & Culverden.
Total journey time 8 hours 23 minutes.
Refueling is good in Takaka, Motueka, Murchison & Culverden. Typically starting with a full tank, you'll only need to refuel in Murchison.

The Lewis Pass route is generally good. There are a few steep hills, but not that many. There are however long stretches with no major towns.

Conclusion

This took quite a bit of work to create. I hope you find it useful.

Written on 15th February 2011 by Steve