Travel Guide

5 Scenic Road Trips to Drive in South Island, New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand
Written by Jane Sophia

Two places in the world that I remember I wished to explore fully by driving a car are:

  • North Carolina, United States
  • South Island, New Zealand

I fell in love with the scenes that unfolded to the passengers driving in a luxury car. I don’t remember the name of the two movies in which I first saw them but I clearly remember the breathtaking attractions that passed by the car. At that time I wished the car driver took a detour or simply got lost to discover the more stunning but hidden natural attractions.

Do you know sometimes the most beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rows of lavender fields, or just an abrupt cliff can be discovered if you lost your way?

Well, I suppose such unforgettable experiences won’t happen these days because of Google maps’ guidance. Hey, isn’t that technology a disadvantage to explorers and discoverers?

In this blog post, I will bring before you some of the extremely beautiful places in South Island, New Zealand. That can be admired only if you travel by a car.

The adventure will unfold, only if you decide to travel by car, preferably a sedan or an SUV.

The advantages of touring a new country by car:

I don’t believe traveling by plane can bring as many pleasures as by hitting the road. The advantages of taking a road trip vacation are many, especially if you are traveling with children or you are on your first honeymoon. I guess I don’t have to explain in detail; the honeymooners would know what I am driving at.

Some of the benefits of driving a car in a new country:

  • No rushing up to catch a plane
  • No need to meet time deadlines fixed by other modes of transportation such as trains or flights
  • You can stop the car at your whims and fancies
  • Detour to find hidden pleasures
  • No luggage limitations
  • Choose what you want to eat and drink at highway restaurants and street food kiosks
  • You can even find a motel near to a stunning attraction and spend more time enjoying what you liked

These days, car rental companies go all out to please you by offering cars of all sizes and comforts. Moreover, the cars that you hire are in an immaculate condition that makes you feel ashamed of your own car’s condition back at your home. In addition, you are assured of on-road assistance from the car hire company in case of untoward happenings.

Come, let us now see some of the most beautiful places in South Island, New Zealand by traveling in a comfortable car.

New Zealand comprises two main islands namely:

  • North Island
  • South Island

The South Island has more sightseeing attractions than its counterpart does. The roads in New Zealand have no match in the world. They are very well maintained and pass through:

  • Scenic countryside
  • Sounds and Fjords
  • Black sand beaches
  • Volcanic mountains
  • Alpine passes
  • Deserted roads
  • Canyons and gorges

To see all the natural wonders of South Island, New Zealand, you need two full weeks of a road trip. Therefore, rent a comfortable and convenient car well in advance because, cars are grabbed fast in New Zealand, as it is the best mode of transport to go around.

  1. Milford Road, New Zealand

No, there is no second choice when it comes to road trips in New Zealand. Milford Raod is the most scenic road in the world. I am sure this declaration alone would entice avid road travelers to go to South Island in New Zealand and see it to believe it.

A short video clip showing the Milford Road

The Milford road starts at Te Anau, the actual gateway to the Milford Sound, New Zealand’s foremost sightseeing attraction. The Milford Road terminates at Milford Sound. The entire stretch of 250+ km is very impressive and dramatic that will make you speechless.

During this beautiful road trip, you will see:

  • Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park

  • Milford Sound

Milford Sound

  • Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau

  • Takahē-a flightless bird

Takahē-a flightless bird

  • Te Anau Caves
  • Stunning glacial valleys
  • Mirror Lakes
  • Rainforest
  • Homer Tunnel that measures over one km in length

  1. Queenstown, New Zealand

If by chance you want to see the beauty of New Zealand’s scenic roads, land at Queenstown, South Island from wherever you are.

After checking in to your hotel, call the car rental company from whom you have already booked a car of your choice and ask them to deliver it at your hotel.

Then take off, hit the road to see some of the most spectacular parts of South Island, New Zealand.

Queenstown, New Zealand, is located on the banks of Lake Wakatipu.

Lake Wakatipu

The mountain that you see in the image is the Southern Alps. The lake itself is situated at an elevation of about 1000 feet!

If you dare, indulge in a bungee jump at Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge. Another exciting adventure during your road trip to Queensland is the jet-boating on the Shotover and Dart rivers.

Stop your car at every signboard that beckons you to take part in some adventure activity or other that include:

  • Skiing-only during winter
  • Sky diving
  • Ziplining
  • Horseback riding
  • River Rafting
  • Mountain biking
  • Heli biking
  1. The Lindis Pass

The Lindis Pass

Just like India and Tibet, New Zealand also has several high-altitude passes that can be admired only if you drive through them. Lindis pass is located in the Canterbury Region. Two beautiful river valleys called Lindis and Ahuriri seem to straddle the Lindis Pass. I mean, they are on either of the Lindis Pass.

Situated at a height of just 3000 feet, this is not an alpine pass but the backdrops ooze alpine beauties that include snow-clad mountain and tall trees that grow only at alpine height (5000 feet and above).

  1. Mount Cook Road

Mount Cook Road

The road to Lake Pukaki and the Mount Cook beyond is breathtaking that would compel you to reach your destination way beyond your schedule because you will be forced to stop at numerous scenic spots in admiration. Your first stoppage will be at the Tasman Valley. In addition, apart from your whimsical halts, there are several marked viewpoints along the road.

  1. Haast Pass

Haast Pass

Haast Pass runs through the Southern Alps, just above the Homer Tunnel. The route is picturesque contributed mainly by thick beech forest.

This mountainous road’s length is 140 km. On either side of the road and in the front, the landscape keeps changing dramatically as you drive. You will be unable to control your urge to stop and admire the scenic surroundings including quite a few waterfalls some of which are silent while some of the waterfalls are generating roaring sound.

Haast Pass

You can stop your car at road signs that read:

  • Thunder Creek falls
  • Blue Pools walk
  • Roaring Billy Waterfall
  • Mount Aspiring National park

I believe there are many more breathtakingly beautiful roads in South Island, New Zealand, especially around Queenstown. I will take you through them on another day and in another car.

 

About the author

Jane Sophia

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