The South Island of New Zealand is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes. From rugged coastlines and majestic mountains to turquoise lakes and impressive glaciers, a road trip across the island will take you through a diverse range of landscapes. Here are 5 of our favourite drives.
Queenstown to Glenorchy
It’s less than an hour’s drive but the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy is incredibly scenic. The winding road follows the shores of Lake Wakatipu, taking you through multiple picturesque bays and photo opportunities. For Lord of the Rings fans, continue on a little further to Paradise Forest for that familiar LOTR landscape.
Lake Tekapo to Aoraki / Mt Cook
The drive from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki / Mt Cook takes you through high country tussock to the mesmerising Lake Pukaki and hugs the western side of Lake Pukaki until Aoraki Mount Cook Village. Against the backdrop of the impressive peak, the glacial blue lake is truly a spectacular sight. Stop at Peter’s Lookout for that compulsory Instagram shot.
Look for lupins alongside the road if you do this drive in late spring or early summer.
Te Anau to Milford Sound
As the only road into Milford Sound, the drive from Te Anau is a beautifully scenic route that offers plenty of viewing points and short walks. Capture the vivid reflections at Mirror Lake, lie on the golden tussock floor of Eglinton Valley and admire the impressive engineering feat of Homer Tunnel. There’s plenty to ooh and ah on this drive.
West Port to Greymouth
The West Coast State Highway 6 has been ranked one of the best drives in the world. As you drive down from West Port to Greymouth, take in the ruggedly beautiful coastline with the wild Tasman sea on one side and the ancient limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park on the other.
Queenstown to Wanaka
Connecting Queenstown to Wanaka is the Crown Range Road, the highest main road in New Zealand. Consisting of multiple hairpin turns, the drive can be challenging particularly when there’s snow. Stop at the summit for a view of Frankton, Queenstown, and Lake Wakatipu. It’s also worth making a stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for that iconic photo.