78 kilometres, 70 minutes
The Waipara Valley is home to the North Canterbury Wine Region and makes a great day trip from Hanmer Springs.
The drive there is easy, taking in some great scenery. As you head south, the first town you find will be Culverden – the Red Post cafe there is well renowned and there are some art and craft galleries worth a look in too. Further south you’ll head through Hurunui (home to one of the oldest pubs in New Zealand) before arriving at the charming township of Waikari.
If your timing is right you can also consider a ride on the Weka Pass Railway steam train, running from Waipara to Waikari return. There are some lovely walks around this village – check out the information board near the public toilets on the State Highway. From Waikari, it’s through the Weka Pass with its surreal limestone formations – including the appropriately named Frog Rock.
Once you’re in the Waipara Valley, there is plenty to do with more than 80 vineyards and four winery restaurants: Pegasus Bay, Black Estate, Waipara Hills and Waipara Springs. Each offers a world-class experience and we are more than happy to book you in for lunch.
Below is an itinerary map that takes you through the majority of the vineyards in the valley, on an easy round trip of 2 ½ hours that also takes you on a delightful backcountry road between Greta Valley (where there is an excellent cafe/restaurant for lunch or dinner) and back to Waipara on your return (if you skip this then the wine valley trip is only 1 hour each way).
Winery Restaurants & Cafes
- Pegasus Bay Winery & Restaurant
- Waipara Hills Winery & Cafe
- Waipara Springs Cafe & Winery
- Black Estate Restaurant & Winery
- Marble Point Winery & Cafe
Vineyards with Tasting Rooms
- Greystone Wines
- Mt Beautiful Tasting Room (not on the itinerary below)
- Bishops Head (not on the itinerary below)
- Torlesse Wines