Southern Scenic Itinerary


810 km


  • Picturesque coastlines
  • Plentiful native wildlife
  • Fiordland National Park



Journey into the captivating lower South Island to uncover an unforgettable mix of rare wildlife, remote rugged lands, and delicious seafood. The Southern Scenic Route will take you off the beaten path to discover stunning deserted coastlines, majestic fiords and welcoming locals.

Day 1: Dunedin to Invercargill via the Catlins

Nugget Point on the Catlins Coast, Clutha




A land of rugged coast and rolling plains.


  • Nugget Point
  • Purakanui Falls
  • Curio Bay Sealions


  • By car: 3 h 15 min | 244 km via SH1 & Owaka Hwy
  • By bus: 3 h 45 min | via Gore by Intercity
  • By : Visit the local iSITE for tours to Catlins

Travel down the coast from Dunedin and explore the beautiful Catlins landscape. Wander the 5 minute path to Nugget Point lighthouse and marvel at the steep headland and rocky islets (The Nuggets). Enjoy amazing views along the coastline, visiting the famous Pūrākaunui Falls. Don't forget to look out for fur seals  as they loll about, playing in rock pools and generally having fun.

Invercargill is New Zealand's southern most city and offers a wide range of activities including the Bill Richardson Transport World and Around the Mountain cycle trail. 

Nearby you will find the town of Bluff, home of the famous oyster.

Day 2: Invercargill to Te Anau

Routeburn Track, Fiordland

By Miles Holden



One New Zealand's most breathtaking regions.


  • Kepler & Routeburn Tracks
  • Scenic boat cruises
  • Glowworm caves


This picturesque drive skirts the ruggard south coast and the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Park.

Visit Te Hikoi Southern Journey to learn about Riverton's bi-cultural past and stop over in Tuatapere for points of natural and historic interest, along with opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, trout fishing, hunting and boating.

Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park, you will find activities such as the glowworm caves, the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary and the Fiordland Cinema, which screens the beautiful short film Ata Whenua taking you deep into the heart of this World Heritage area.

Day 3: Milford Sound day trip

Milford Sound, Fiordland

By Alistair Guthrie


  • By car: 3 h 30 min | 236 km (rtn.) via SH94
  • By : Driving times may vary during winter
  • By bus: Visit the local iSITE for scenic tour options


  • Kayaking and diving
  • Boat cruises day and night
  • Scenic flights


A fusion of spectacular natural features with amazing visual cues around every corner.

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The road to Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most scenic routes; drive yourself or relax in a coach tour. Along the way look out for the Mirror Lakes with their amazing reflective views. Rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into the amazing 22km fiord of Milford Sound.

A boat cruise is the best way to experience the sounds; choose either a day trip or a more leisurely overnight cruise. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the Sound's highlights. An underwater observatory is an option with most cruises, allowing you to see the fiord's fascinating depths.

If you've opted for a day cruise, head back to Te Anau for the night.

Day 4: Te Anau - Queenstown

Cycling by Lake Wakatipu in autumn, Queenstown

By Miles Holden



Home to the ultimate adventure bucket list.


  • Stunning walking and cycling trails
  • Bungy, jet boating, and sky diving
  • Winery tours and renowned golf courses


  • By car: 3 h 46 min | 287 km via SH94 & SH6
  • By bus: 2 h 50 min | to Queenstown by Intercity

End your journey in the exciting and fantastically attractive alpine resort of Queenstown.

Nestled on the shores of the stunning Lake Wakatipu, Queentown is the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing.

It’s also a destination for luxury experiences, from gourmet food and award-winning vineyards to indulgent spa treatments, boutique shopping and leisurely games of golf.

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

View the route below

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