New Zealand South Island: Scenic Locations to Visit by Car

New Zealand South Island: Scenic Locations to Visit by Car

In New Zealand, the roads are good and the traffic is light. This makes driving easy and fun, and with a car, bike or campervan, visitors can see all the great sights on South Island. With cool alpine lakes, beautiful mountain views, rolling farmland, awesome fjords and fewer people, the South Island is a great place for the ultimate scenic experience holiday. Check out our top easy to drive scenic routes on the South Island of New Zealand...


1. Queenstown to Milford Sound

Queenstown is on the shores of a beautiful lake that offers jet boating, bungee jumping, sky diving, skiing in the winter and horse trekking as well as river rafting throughout the year. This is the place to go for an adrenaline rush. Mt. Aspiring National Park is just a short drive from the city and has many walking trails through the forest. Beginning in Queenstown and following the shore of Lake Wakatipu, travellers get fantastic views of the mountains aptly named The Remarkables. The road goes past several locations of Middle Earth and places where visitors can pan for gold.


2. Christchruch

The loop from Christchurch to Kaikoura, the Waipara vineyards and Hanmer Springs and back to Christchurch is 451 kilometres. The largest city on South Island, Christchurch is only after Auckland in size. Called the Garden City because the city is full of trees and with Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, it has a city park larger than Central Park in New York. There are some fantastic museums and galleries in the city including the Christchurch Art Gallery, Canterbury Museum with natural history and Maori sections and Ferrymead Heritage Park, which is a recreated Edwardian township and a museum.


3. Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a small town that is famous for its crayfish dishes. It is on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and bordered by high mountains. In some places, the mountains emerge straight from the sea. It is a feeding ground for whales, seals and dolphin and visitors can kayak with the mammals and even swim with dolphins and seals. On the way to Hanmer Springs visitors enjoy the wine tasting at the many vineyards and pick up some fresh olive oil. Hanmer Springs has hot pools and places for massage as well as excellent restaurants.


4. Lake Te Anau

This is the biggest lake in the South Island and the right place to begin a journey into Fiordland National Park. The lake disappears into the Murchison Mountains, but first visitors should see the shops and restaurants on the lake. Milford Road is the best way to reach Milford Sound. It is 119 kilometres long and gradually the mountains become steeper and steeper.


5. Fiordland National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this park is possibly the most spectacular natural wonder in New Zealand. The mountains jut right from the sea and there are high waterfalls that cascade directly into the dark water. The park has over 1,000 waterfalls of all sizes. This area has not changed for thousands of years. Visitors can cruise the sound on a boat or take a kayak and follow the dolphins. There are many trails for hiking, which is one of the best ways to enjoy and be overwhelmed by the scenery. A helicopter tour is another way to see the sights, and some people think it’s the best way. There are 14 fiords that were created 100,000 years ago. The Maori believed the fiords were carved from the mountains by a giant stonemason.


Related Pages

Related Opportunities

Highlights of New Zealand

Two weeks is barely enough time to thoroughly explore your hometown, let alone a place as fascinating as New Zealand. 

New Zealand Active South Island

New Zealand is the perfect place for adrenaline and activity, and there's nowhere in the country more suited to that than the South Island. 

Kiwi Encounter

Wherever you look in New Zealand it’s beauty, beauty and more beauty. You’ll see everything from thermal grounds, soaring volcanoes and towering mountains to mirror-like lakes. 

New Zealand Active Adventure

If you're travelling to New Zealand, you wouldn't want to have to choose between the two islands. 

Kiwiana Panorama (Auckland to Queenstown)

Feed your adrenaline cravings - rest & relaxation is overrated! Blackwater raft in Waitomo before you hit Rotorua.

Kiwiana Panorama (Queenstown to Auckland)

Feed your adrenaline cravings - relaxation is overrated! Kick it off in Queenstown, the adventure-adrenaline Capital of the World. Ride the Shotover Jet & get a slice of the action! 

Grand Kiwi

Get 18 days to get explore New Zealand. We dare you not to fall head over heels in love with this country on our Grand Kiwi tour.

The Big Tika (Auckland to Christchurch)

Get ready for stunning natural surroundings, chilled out Kiwi culture & an adrenaline rush! In Paihia, try 'sand duning' & blackwater rafting in Waitomo’s caves.

New Zealand South Island Encompassed

Travel and discover one of the most spectacular islands in the world by exploring New Zealand's South Island on this 15 day trip.

Best of New Zealand

Experience the very best of New Zealand on this 3 week overland trip of the North and South Islands.

Kiwi Discovery Pass

Enjoy up to 12 months of unlimited travel in New Zealand with this open dated bus pass! With the ability to hop on & off at your leisure and loads of activities along the way this is an adventure you won't forget!

Ultimate New Zealand Ski Tour

Hit the slopes of the the South Island's dominating Southern Alps, home to New Zealand's premier ski areas.

Australia & New Zealand Explorer

Australia or New Zealand? Do both! There’s never been a better time to get a taste of the world Down Under, and on this adventure, you’ll do so via trains, canopy cable cars, and private yachts. 

Conservation Volunteering in New Zealand

For those who have a passion for the environment and a love of the great outdoors, this project will get you off the beaten track to enjoy some of the New Zealand’s most undiscovered and beautiful destinations. 

Ski New Zealand

There’s one word to describe the sights you’ll see in New Zealand: dramatic. 

Summer Season in New Zealand

The Kiwi summer programme is perfect for those planning to travel to NZ and begin a working holiday visa between September and January. 





About  |  Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Company A-Z  |  Advertise  |  Press  |  Contact

One World 365 © 2007 - 2017