Travelling the picturesque alternate route (via state highways 63, 6, 65 and 7, through Lewis Pass) between Picton and Christchurch takes on average 6.5 hours but allow extra time as delays are likely. Journey time on this route is quite consistent. The alternate route is challenging to drive in places – it is narrow and winding in many places, with single-lane bridges and there are speed restrictions. For everyone’s safety, strictly adhere to all road signage and speed restrictions.
Drivers need to be patient, cautious and courteous – if needed, pull over and let traffic behind you pass when it is safe to do so to prevent drivers becoming frustrated and making poor overtaking decisions.
Do not drive when you’re tired; tired drivers are slower to react, make poor judgement decisions and find it harder to concentrate. There are rest stops with fuel, food, coffee and toilets at Culverden, Springs Junction, Murchison and St Arnaud. Take your time: stop for regular breaks at towns along the route and make the journey part of your holiday.
Be prepared for unexpected delays with food, water, and a fully charged cell phone.