Kenneth’s guide to the alternative route (Picton to Christchurch)

Department of Conservation —  20/12/2016

State Highway 1 between Picton and Kaikoura remains closed due to slips triggered by the November earthquake.

If you’re driving between Picton and Christchurch this summer, you’ll need to take the Alternative Route. Luckily, there’s plenty of natural places to visit along the way! Our friend Kenneth takes a closer look at spots along the journey:

The route traverses state highways 63, 6 and 7 and passes through several conservation areas, including Nelson Lakes National Park, Victoria Forest Park, Lake Sumner Forest Park and Hanmer Forest Park.


The alternative route.

Download the alternative route map and brochure here. Some of the journey highlights include:

Kerr Bay campsite, Lake Rotoiti

Kerr Bay campsite is located adjacent to Lake Rotoiti with a boat launching ramp nearby. It is surrounded by beech forest and 500 m from the St Arnaud village shop.


Kenneth prepares to jump from the wharf at Kerr Bay, Lake Rotoiti.

Maruia Falls

Accessed from SH65, 23 km south of Murchison, the Maruia Falls track starts from the carpark and descends to the Maruia River bank. From here there is an excellent viewpoint of the falls, which were created following the 1929 earthquake. It’s only a 10 minute return trip.


Cameraman Trevor gets a great shot of Kenneth near Maruia Falls.

Marble Hill campsite

Explore the valley’s alpine beauty and native birds in amazing red beech forests. Maruia Hot Springs are nearby. There’s also a number of short family walks in the area like the Lake Daniell Track. Find out more about the campsite here.

The Alpine Nature Walk in Lewis Pass

The Alpine Nature Walk in Lewis Pass provides an opportunity to break up the long drive while enjoying spectacular scenery and beech forest. This is a 20 minute loop track at the start of the St James Walkway. It leads through an alpine wetland, with views of Gloriana Peak and the Spenser Mountains. Picnic tables make it a great spot to stop for food.

St James - Kenneth at lookout.jpg

For more spots to visit and more information about the Alternative Route, visit

One response to Kenneth’s guide to the alternative route (Picton to Christchurch)


    Brilliant, laughed out loud and learnt facts for my upcoming trip via the Alternate Route. Thank you Kenneth. Regards Marg.