Southern Scenic Route

The Southern Scenic Route to Milford Sound refreshes body and soul with its unforgettable landscapes. Get acquainted with the heritage architecture and eco-encounters of Dunedin before you follow the east coast road to The Catlins region.

4 days

Dunedin - Catlins - Invercargill

Driving time: 3hrs 31mins
Larnach Castle Dunedin, NZ

Dunedin is a treasure box of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. During the gold rush, the city acquired some of New Zealand's most impressive commercial buildings. You can see amazing examples of revival Gothic, Italianate, Palladian and Georgian architecture, and you can stay in historic hotels and grand homes that have been converted to bed and breakfast establishments.

Coastal View of Otago Peninsula

Eco-tours to penguin, albatross and fur seal colonies are Dunedin's other claim to fame - some include a cruise up the beautiful Otago Harbour. Waterfalls, forests and marine mammal encounters await you on the Catlins Coast, a stretch of wilderness that begins just south of Balclutha. Be sure to take the track to Purakaunui Falls, a magnificent 20 metre, three tier waterfall.

Invercargill is Southland's principal centre and the country's southernmost city. Local food specialties include Bluff Oysters and blue cod. The museum has a tuatara house and an excellent exhibition about New Zealand’s subantarctic islands.

Invercargill - Te Anau

Driving time: 2 hrs 36 mins
Water Tower, Invercargill.

The route to Te Anau takes you past Riverton, one of the oldest settlements in New Zealand, and then on to Tuatapere and Clifden, where you can investigate caves and discover the historic suspension bridge. Visit spectacular Lake Manapouri before you arrive in Te Anau.

Te Anau township sits on the shores of Lake Te Anau. From here, the delights of the Fiordland National Park are within easy reach, including the start of the world famous Milford Track. Cruise on the lakes, walk the tracks and explore the Te Ana-au Caves.

Te Anau - Milford Sound

Driving time: 1 hrs 48 mins
DOC Great Walk Milford Track.

The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. It can be a challenging drive, so if you prefer to sit back and relax, book a coach tour. The advantage is you get to hear local stories and enjoy special stops along the way.

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.

Milford Sound - Queenstown

Driving time: 3 hrs 29 mins
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Today you make your way to New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. Trout fishing rivers and high country scenery are features of the drive from Te Anau to Queenstown.


The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting and fantastically attractive. It’s 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 wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.

Start planning your trip

Book a fare to Dunedin, then return from Queenstown

White hotel room.

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Read our detailed guide to Dunedin