Highway open . . . The highway south of Kaikoura will be open for the long weekend. File photo


Tourism officials are launching a renewed touring route in the hope of showcasing the new look Kaikoura coastline and attracting visitors to areas affected by the November 2016 earthquake.

The NZTA-approved route, previously known as the Alpine Pacific Triangle, has been lengthened and renamed the Alpine Pacific Touring Route (APT).

The 450-kilometre APT runs between Christchurch, Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs, heading through what’s known as ‘the coolest little wine region in the country’ the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury.

Hurunui Tourism marketing manager Shane Adcock says the route includes some of New Zealand’s most popular attractions – the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs with the iconic Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, and Kaikoura with its whalewatching and ecotourism experiences.

“There are also some fantastic highlights in between – Cheviot, Mt Lyford, stunning scenery on the inland roads and a sensational coastal drive. There’s plenty to see and do making the APT a good 3 to 4 day journey.”

Kaikoura and the area around it was badly affected by the November 2016 earthquake, with State Highway One north of the town still closed.

Destination Kaikoura manager Glenn Ormsby hopes the relaunch of the APT will help local businesses. In December 2016 visitor numbers were 80% lower than the year before.

“The period from January to April did improve but numbers were still down by 56%. Given the incredible attractions the APT offers, we are hoping the renewed promotion will bring some extra tourists to both the Kaikoura and Hurunui districts. It’s a wonderful trip.”

Whale Watch Kaikoura’s chief executive Kauahi Ngapora says his organisation is excited that the APT is being relanched.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of the new look Kaikoura coastline along with our majestic marine life. We look forward to many of our guests enjoying all that this fantastic touring route has to offer.

The relaunch also has the support of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, chief executive Vic Allen says the APT takes in some of the world’s best vineyards, food trails, adventure, scenery, wildlife and spa relaxation.

“We’re encouraging visitors to take the time to stop and explore along the way, and to enjoy the best food, wine and relaxation in stunning settings.”

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