The scenery on this route is simply mind-blowing. Get ready for towering mountains and turquoise lakes along with friendly, down-to-earth locals and rare wildlife. See Dunedin’s ornate mansions(opens in new window) and Gothic churches then drive to Central Otago for gold mining legacy set among stunning landscapes and award-winning vineyards. Or head to the vibrant Queenstown for some cosmopolitan hospitality and a leisurely cycle alongside one of their many beautiful lakes and waterways(opens in new window).
Vibrant city with an evolving creative heart
Heritage, unique wildlife and natural wonders.
From Christchurch take your time to discover this beautiful part of New Zealand. Explore Oamaru's Victorian precinct and visit the fascinating Steampunk Playground and Museum. In the evening, as the sun sets, watch the world's smallest penguin come ashore to nest at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.
Historic architecture and eco-adventure await you
Head south towards Dunedin, taking in the grand landscapes as you weave your way through the coastal roads. Then take time to marvel at one of New Zealand’s great natural wonders, the Moeraki Boulders before arriving in Dunedin, one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
Gold mining heritage meets adventure
From Dunedin(opens in new window), head inland through Central Otago, where it feels like you’re driving through a painting with its historic towns, great cycle trails, seasonal fruit and award-winning vineyards.
For those who like to combine exercise with wine tasting – the Four Barrels Walking Wine Trail(opens in new window) is a scenic 8km circuit that takes you to four fabulous cellar doors around Cromwell.
Alternatively, join the trend and enjoy a relaxed cycle on one of the three spectacular ‘Great Ride’ cycle trails in Central Otago – which includes the Otago Central Rail Trail(opens in new window) which inspired the creation of the New Zealand cycle trail network.
For a true adrenaline rush – head to Highlands (opens in new window)and catch the fastest taxi in town.
Once in Queenstown, it’s time for some true southern hospitality. Wander around the well-appointed pedestrianised streets in Queenstown’s CBD, pop into a cosy wine bar or a friendly pub, or grab a giant gourmet burger and wander down to the lakefront. With over 150 bars and restaurants to choose from and flavours from all around the world, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Getting around New Zealand is easy with familiar road signs and a great range of transport options available.
There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget and travel style.
Visit in spring or autumn to enjoy warm weather, lower prices and short queues.