The Southern Scenic Route is New Zealand's oldest touring route, and arguably one of the most stunning.
The Southern Scenic Route traverses three regions. Beginning in Otago the route passes through Southland, before ending in stunning Fiordland.
Approximately 550kms long, the entire route is best driven over a number of days - to fully experience the charms and diversity of these three southern regions.
DUNEDIN: Dunedin is one of the South Island's most vibrant locations - with a large student community ensuring the vitality of the South Island's second biggest city. A strong Scottish heritage defines Dunedin, which was closely modelled on Edinburgh. Attractions include Larnach Castle, the Octagon (Dunedin's eight-sided town "square") and the Otago Settler's Museum. There's also plenty of shopping to be done in this youthful city - whether you're after high street fashion or rare collectibles and antiques. Beer connoisseurs will also enjoy a visit to the iconic Speights Brewery, for the true "Southern Man" experience!
SOUTH OTAGO COAST: The Otago Peninsula is a stunning eco-tourism location with seals, penguins and seabirds all making their home here. Visit the Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Hoiho) colony to see these rare birds in their natural habitat. With less than 2000 breeding pairs in the world, these little guys will enthral you with their surfing abilities, as they catch waves in to shore after a day of fishing. Another rarity - the Royal Albatross - makes its home on the Otago Peninsula, at Taiaroa Head. These majestic birds have a wingspan of 3 metres, and are a truly spectacular sight.
SOUTHLAND: New Zealand's most southern region, Southland is as close to the edge of the southern hemisphere as most of us will ever get. The Catlins, situated on the coast between Dunedin and Invercargill, is a major scenic highlight on the Southern Scenic Route. Here you will discover ancient petrified forests, a huge selection of wildlife and walking tracks and secluded windswept beaches. Rakiura National Park, located on New Zealand's "other" island (Stewart Island) is the country's newest National Park and a must-do for any wildlife lover. Invercargill, Southland's main city, is a great place to base day trips around Southland, or to rest on your journey along the Southern Scenic Route. Attractions in and around Invercargill include the Southland Museum and Art Gallery and Southland's most famous sea delicacy - the Bluff Oyster.
FIORDLAND: The jewel in the South Island's crown, Fiordland is the holy grail for many international hikers and trekkers. Blessed with some of the most exquisite walking tracks and scenery in the world, Fiordland is defined by deep waterways and towering mountain-scapes. The Southern Scenic Route ends or begins in this stunning location - meaning you can take some time to explore the Fiords by boat or kayak, or hike one of the three "Great Walks" found here - the Routeburn, Milford or Kepler tracks.