This 268-km (167-mi) heritage highway, which stretches from Timaru to Twizel via Mt. Cook, recognizes the long, arduous journeys early settlers in the region made by bullock wagon. Leaving the Canterbury Plains at Geraldine or Pleasant Point (depending on whether you are coming directly from Christchurch or through from Timaru), the highways join at Fairlie and quickly climb toward the first of the alpine passes—Burkes Pass—along the Bullock Wagon Trail. The Burkes
Pass monument marks the division between the high and low country, and from there the country immediately dries out and takes on the look of high-country tussock lands. To learn more about the trail and the history of the region, stop in at one of two information centers along the way.
Lake Tekapo Information. Lake Tekapo Information State Highway 8, Village Center, Lake Tekapo, 7999. 03/680–6579. www.laketekapountouched.co.nz.
Timaru & South Canterbury Visitor Centre (Landing Services Building, 2 George St., Timaru, 7940. 03/687–9997. www.southisland.org.nz.).