TRAVELLING UNDER THE RED AND ORANGE TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM FROM 3 DEC 2021: Airlines, ferries and other transport operators will require you to have your vaccine pass or negative test before you can travel, and the same applies if you are crossing the Auckland border (after 15 Dec). Whilst our industry is not required to check vaccine passes, when you collect your car or use our shuttle service, please mask up, scan in and follow physical distancing guidelines. Contactless transactions can be arranged, just let us know in advance if this is your preference, you have a mask exemption, or if you are exiting an MIQ facility - we will be only too happy to assist. Enjoy your summer adventure!


Thank you again for the second time this year. You delivered to my wife a spotlessly clean and detailed vehicle, the service was prompt and the vehicle delivered with a smile and local service. I will certainly recommend your vehicles to our friends, regards

You were incredibly helpful and contributed to us having a pretty easy time while in New Zealand, Thanks RaD!

Hi, I just wanted to thank you very much for your wonderful service this last few days.

You made the process really easy from booking to return, so thank you very much.

We will certainly be using your services again in future!

Kind regards

North Canterbury Basketball Association

Grab a deal from RaD Car Hire and explore more of the stunning South Island of New Zealand on your journey from Christchurch to Picton. When deciding how to get from A to B, consider driving yourself to Picton - this will allow you to see and do more on your visit to New Zealand than you could imagine.

Tips for planning your trip

Here are our tips for the best route and driving directions to each location from Christchurch to Picton.

Research your destination and plan your itinerary

Ask our friendly team for Christchurch to Picton travel information - we’d be glad to give you ideas to add to your itinerary! We live in a small country, where one location may seem within close distance to another on a map. But in reality, the drive may be longer than you expect due to winding roads and difficult terrain. Make sure you fill your petrol tank before you leave Christchurch.

Rent a car at Christchurch

Get in touch with the friendly RaD Car Hire Christchurch Airport team on 0800 736 823 or book online now. We offer convenient pick-up and drop-off car rental services from Christchurch Airport.

Check the weather and travel advisories

Whether you’re looking to shred the slopes, hit the shops or relax in hot springs, it pays to stay up-to-date with the weather. If you’re travelling between July and October, ask to add snow chains to your car hire booking. More Information:

Day 1 : Road to Kaikoura

Waikuku Beach

Waikuku beach is a popular spot with good facilities. The free Waikuku Beach Paddling Pool is open during the summer season.

Check the surf conditions here:

Nor’wester Cafe in Amberley

The Nor'Wester Cafe is renowned for quality food and service. This popular destination point has been a favourite for travellers over the years. Enjoy breakfast and lunch accompanied by a steaming espresso, roasted by Allpress.

Find more information:

Waipara Valley

Waipara Valley sits nestled in the rolling hills of the Hurunui District. Explore vineyards, dense forests, mountains, market gardens, farms, truffle fields, rivers and coastlines.

For accommodation and more information:

Hurunui River Mouth Reserve and Camping Ground

At Hurunui River Mouth Reserve, you can camp, fish, and boat. Follow the river that flows into a large lagoon before it eventually enters the ocean. Also, near the campground, you’ll find a stunning secluded beach. See more:

Manuka Bay

The scenic Manuka Bay is a true hidden gem of the Canterbury region. Just a short drive from Hurunui River Mouth Reserve will bring you to the calm blue waters and black sand of Manuka Beach.

Day 2: Kaikōura

Whale watching in Kaikōura

The town of Kaikōura is abundant in marine wildlife, which means so are whale watching opportunities. The most famous is the Giant Sperm Whale, which led the Māori ancestor Paikea to NZ many centuries ago. These majestic mammals continue to amaze the local people and visitors who have the privilege of seeing them.

Point Kean Viewpoint

Take the quick but steep walk to the summit of the Point Kean Viewpoint. Here, you can enjoy

spectacular coastal views and spot wildlife including seals and dolphins.

Day 3: Kaikōura to Picton

Ohau Stream Walkway and Falls

Ohau Falls is about 20 minutes from Kaikoura along SH 1. An easy, 10-minute stroll will lead you from the car park to the waterfall’s base where you might spot seal pups enjoying a splash.

The Store at Kekerengu

Visit the Store at Kekerengu for fine dining or cafe-style lunches. Enjoy a meal indoors or under the sun at the outdoor seating area overlooking the spectacular colours emanating off the sea.

More Information:

Marlborough Provincial Museum

The Marlborough Provincial Museum in Blenheim is home to a huge selection of artifacts, images, and exhibitions. Arrive on Saturday for free entry.

More Information:

Sauvignon Blanc at Marlborough

New Zealand has risen to become one of the world’s greatest wine-producing nations. The cool climate and ancient alluvial soils of the Marlborough region produce a delicate yet bold Sauvignon Blanc.

Queen Charlotte Sound

Welcome to Picton! Queen Charlotte Sound is a coastal paradise, rich with island sanctuaries and pristine waters. Native birdlife, dolphins, penguins, orcas, stingrays call this area home. Take guided or self-guided kayak tours, enjoy a yacht charter or relax on a cruise.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is Christchurch from Picton?

The fastest way between Christchurch and Picton is to follow the route along State Highway 1. The road distance is 336km and will take roughly four and a half hours, non-stop.

Where is the rental car drop off location at Christchurch?

Our RaD Car Hire depot is just 5 minutes from the Christchurch Airport at 158 Orchard Rd, Mustang Park, Harewood. We also offer an airport shuttle service. Contact our friendly staff to make arrangements.

What type of car is recommended for driving from Christchurch to Picton?

Our late model sedans and hatches are perfect for your New Zealand adventure. If you’re bringing a group, or your family, select an SUV or 8-seat MPV. Browse our range here.

Get on the road sooner with RaD

RaD Car Hire is a New-Zealand operated company. We strive to offer the best possible rental car deals and service possible.

We hope our travel guide from Christchurch to Picton has given you plenty of ideas to add to your itinerary on the South Island! Take a look at our blog page for more things to do in New Zealand.