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Five awe-inspiring journeys through South Island New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island driving routes showcase some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Brimming with awe-inspiring views and spectacular landscapes the South Island is a self-drive holiday paradise. But it's easy to be overwhelmed with choice when it comes to routes.

Looking to fizz up your vacation itinerary a little and be sure you are seeing the best of the south? These five scenic southern driving routes are worthy of serious consideration:

Queenstown to Haast, West Coast. This alps-to-ocean drive is all about untouched nature. You’ll see lakes, rainforest, tumbling waterfalls and rivers, native podocarp and the ocean. We recommend making time to see the Blue Pools, an icy glacier-fed spring just a 10-minute walk from the main road.

Te Anau to Milford Sound. Some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country can be seen on this drive. From crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountains to lush glacier formed meadows, green moss-covered trees and high alpine pass - the Milford road is a destination in itself.

Dunedin to Te Anau. This drive is a little off usual tourist routes - a good thing. Head through coastal farmland to the scenic Catlins area known for its waterfalls and pounding surf. You’ll see jagged cliffs and interesting rocky outcrops, windswept beaches and wild seas before heading inland through the alpine tussock lands and native forest surrounding Te Anau.

Nelson to Kaikoura. Wine and wildlife anyone? Beginning at the top of the south this road takes you through the dry hills of Marlborough wine country, before traversing one of the most scenic coastlines in the country. See beautiful vineyards and native bush, mountains, rugged coastline, fur seals and ocean birds. Hint: in the winter months don't miss the opportunity to take a short walk to the Ohau waterfall to watch the seal cubs playing while their parents are out at sea collecting food for them.

Wanaka to Westport. The west coast of New Zealand’s South Island holds some of the best scenic driving in the country. Stretching from Wanaka to Nelson and encompassing dense subtropical rainforest, glaciers, beaches, mountains and rivers, you’ll get five for the price of one when you take this route.

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Custom New Zealand Road Trips

New Zealand is the perfect Road trip destination. Small enough to explore but diverse enough to surprise you. From the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the north to the sub-antarctic of the south every corner offers stunning views or incredible experiences.
The team at NZ Road Trip have been creating tailor-made experiences since 2004 and being based right here in Wanaka, South Island NZ, their first hand knowledge ensures you get to see the best of NZ.

Our Road Trips can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you like. From the adrenaline packed Queenstown to the serene beaches of Coromandel and from the rugged West Coast of the South Island to the bustling cafe quarters in Auckland city we can design the perfect New Zealand itinerary for you.