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 - 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


Further down the coast from Dunedin wander the 5 minute path to Nugget Point lighthouse and marvel the steep headland and rocky islets (The Nuggets). Enjoy amazing views along the coastline, visiting the famous Pūrākaunui Falls, looking out for fur seals lolling about, playing in rock pools and generally having fun.

Day 2: Invercargill - Te Anau

New Zealand
The stunning view of Fiordland from the Routeburn Track, New Zealand

By Miles Holden



One New Zealand's most breathtaking regions.


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


This picturesque drive skirts the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Park and the rugged south coast, providing an introduction to southern parts of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. Visit Te Hikoi Southern Journey to learn about Riverton's bi-cultural past and stop over in Tuatapere for many points of natural and historic interest along the route, and varied opportunities for recreation – tramping, mountain biking, trout fishing, hunting, boating and caving. Arriving in the township of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park, you will find a variety of activities such as the glowworm caves, Te Anau Bird Sanctuary and the Ata Whenua movie, plus a range of accommodation and restaurants. This is the perfect base to explore the majestic Milford and Doubtful Sounds on short walks, multi-day hikes or boat cruises.

Day 3: Milford Sound day trip

Milford Sound, Fiordland

By Alistair Guthrie


  • By car: 3 h 30 min | 236 km Milford Sound return
  • 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.

Read more

The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives, or you can relax in a coach tour and enjoy the local stories. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Mirror Lakes, which offer amazing reflective views on a clear day. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak.

A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland; you can choose either a day trip or an overnight cruise to really get amongst the beauty of the place. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember. The underwater observatory is an option with most cruises. If you opt for a day cruise, head back to Te Anau to spend the night; it has a wide range of accommodation and restaurants on offer.

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


The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting and fantastically attractive. Nestled on the shores of the stunning Lake Wakatipu, it 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 – gourmet food and award-winning vineyards to visit by bike or car, indulge in spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.

Driving in New Zealand

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

View the route below

You may also be interested in...

Recommended Trips →

Travel to NZ →

Visas & Immigration →