Southern Scenic Route
Dunedin | Invercargill | Te Anau | Queenstown
Duration: 6 Days
The Southern Scenic Route between Otepoti Dunedin and Queenstown is a must-do road trip, over 610km, offering a wealth of experiences and natural beauty.
Fly into Dunedin to begin your discovery of the Southern Scenic Route, spend the day exploring, you are spoilt for choice with the city known for it's unique wildlife, heritage architecture, fantastic beaches and thriving cafe culture.
Dunedin is home to an impressive collection of historic buildings, each with their own stories to tell. But Dunedin isn't just a showcase of the city's architectural heritage - it's also home to an ever-growing street art scene. From vibrant murals adorning the walls of alleyways to smaller almost hidden installations, you can experience a diverse range of art and expression throughout the city. The Dunedin Street Art Trail takes you on a journey through the city, showcasing some of the best street art in the country.
Animal lovers and history buffs alike will enjoy exploring the picturesque Otago Peninsula. This 20km long harbor is world-famous for its abundance of marine wildlife, including the New Zealand Sea lion, Royal Albatross, Blue Penguins and the endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin, while also being home to New Zealand’s only castle. Once a private residence dating back to 1871 Larnach Castle has been lovingly restored and is surrounded by award-winning gardens.
As you travel from Dunedin towards Balclutha, you'll discover various scenic and historic locations along the way. The journey leads you into the stunning Catlins region, where the road leads you between the forest and coastline.
Take a break at Purakaunui Falls to witness the cascading three-tiered waterfall which is a short 5 min walk from the carpark.
A visit to the Nugget Point Lighthouse is a must, where you can witness sea lions and seals basking on the rocks beneath. The view of the horizon over the nuggets is truly majestic and will take your breath away.
Explore and stay in secluded Curio Bay to see the 180-million-year-old fossil forest, rare yellow-eyed penguins, and playful Hector's dolphins swimming in the bay.
Head to Invercargill - one of the southernmost cities in the world, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals.
A visit to Bill Richardson Transport World is a must-do. This extensive automotive museum boasts an impressive collection of over 300 classic cars, trucks, and other vehicles. You can also check out the World's Fastest Indian motorcycle, which is on display in the museum's hardware store, E Hayes & Sons.
Next, head to Queens Park to experience the 80-hectare park features a botanical garden, an aviary, animal enclosures, and walking trails that take you through lush gardens and towering trees.
For motorbike enthusiasts, the Classic Motorcycle Mecca is an absolute must-see with over 300 motorcycles from around the world, including rare and iconic models.
Bluff, is the gateway to Stewart Island and is a 30 minute drive from Invercargill city centre. Check out the famous Stirling Point sign, walk along the Bluff Hill peninsula and taste the freshest and most premium seafood, caught from the Foveaux Strait right in front of you at Oyster Cove.
Hit the road for an unforgettable journey to Fiordland, where breathtaking natural beauty and adventures await.
Fiordland is renowned for the spectacular Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, which are both a must-see. Additionally, Fiordland boasts more than 500 kilometers of walking tracks, making it a paradise for hikers and adventurers. On your way to Fiordland, make a stop at Kepler Mountain View Alpaca farm located in Manapouri for a dose of cuteness.
Afterward, make your way to Te Anau where you have choice for lunch with cozy cafes, delicious restaurants and grab-and-go takeaway joints. For an elegant and historical experience, take a cruise on Lake Te Anau aboard Faith with Fiordland Historic Cruises. Alternatively, opt for an adventure on the Waiau River with Fiordland Jet or visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves with Real Journeys.
Discover your perfect adventure with the range of activities available, choose from a day cruise, kayaking, diving through black coral, or a scenic helicopter ride to witness the beauty of glaciers.
It is recommended to book ahead for Milford Sound and opt for a coach and cruise trip from Te Anau to avoid distractions on the scenic road. This way, you can fully enjoy the stunning scenery from the comfort of your bus.
Head to Queenstown, where you'll find yourself nestled on the tranquil shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps. This picturesque town is one of Aotearoa's most celebrated destinations, offering a haven for those seeking luxury and relaxation. Enjoy world-class wineries, 5-star lodges, and world class golf courses, as well as an array of fine-dining establishments.
To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Queenstown, it's recommended to stay for at least a night or two. There are a range of accommodation options available, catering to your preferences and budget, from budget backpackers to upscale hotels and lodges. It's advisable to book in advance to secure your desired accommodation.
As your time in the Southern Way regions draw to a close, take in the last few breaths of the refreshing alpine air before heading back home. Queenstown's serene ambiance and picturesque landscapes will leave you with unforgettable memories.