Southern Scenic Route

When you want to go from Queenstown to Stewart Island and then to Dunedin, you have a bit of a problem: there is not much to do or see on the way. Two of our guidebooks completely ignore almost everything between Queenstown and Dunedin (except Stewart Island itself), but the third pointed out the Southern Scenic Route. A brochure points out every interesting item along the route, which varies from a lake where you can see waterfowl (wow !) to a five day hiking trip. On this page we'll show you some of the sights we saw on our stops driving the Southern Scenic Route.

Clifden Historic Bridge

Suspension cables

Our first stop on the Southern Scenic Route was this historic suspension bridge at Clifden. It was the first bridge built to cross the Waiau, which was a big river with lots of currents at the time. Because of the water power station, the Waiau is now a small stream, so it is hard to fully appreciate the effort.

Totara tree

1000 years old

A nest or something

Along the route are also lots of trees. The Totara tree above is about 1,000 years old, and he has some brothers and sisters as well in the same forest. Reaching the Southern coastline, the trees formed by the constant blowing wind stand out. There are many more beautiful examples, but Leon didn't want to stop at every tree.

Trees in strange shapes

Changing the tyre

It might have happened on any other road, but we had a flat tire at Bluff. Leon is experienced in changing tires, so the guys at the bar across the street did not have a long show. The next day, at the Firestone in Invercargill we could make a picture of the spike which caused the puncture.

The nail inside the tyre

Wrestling a Tuatara

Besides a Firestone, Invercargill also has the Southland Museum. The best thing here are the Tuataras. At the museum a program is raised to keep them from extinction. They are not as big as the statue Leon is posing with, by the way. Another interesting exhibition is about the life below 40 degrees south, with albatrosses and the vegetation on the islands between New Zealand and Antarctica.

Hungry !!



Lots of kiwi's prefer to walk on slippers or on bare feet. We had noticed this long before we reached the South, but here we found a shop that displays them like expensive footwear.

Curio Bay

At Curio Bay you find the strangest forest of New Zealand: it is petrified. The trees are turned into stone. The sign said these fossils are 180 million years old and we had to keep it that way. At first we thought we had to stop the time, but later we realised we weren't allowed to take the fossils home.

Petrified forest

Purakaunui falls

We skipped the Niagara falls at the scenic route, but we did go to this one, the Purakaunui falls. This is one of the many places where you can take a stroll.

Well, that's about it about the Southern Scenic Route. Our next stretch was the road from Dunedin to Christchurch. This was a lot worse: no scenic route at all. No brochure with suggestions to stretch your legs. And a café that offers free coffee to keep drivers awake. And guess what, we don't have any interesting pictures from that stretch.