Intro drive Southern Scenic route from Invercargill and to Te Anau

Embarking on a journey through the stunning landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island, the drive from Invercargill to Te Anau along the Southern Scenic Route is a must-do for any traveler. This scenic drive offers a wealth of natural beauty, charming towns, and unforgettable experiences that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you opt for the direct route or take the time to explore the coastal areas, this trip is sure to be a highlight of your New Zealand adventure.

Stop at Riverton with Te Hikoi Museum and Info Centre

As you depart Invercargill and head west, your first stop along the Southern Scenic Route should be the quaint village of Riverton. This coastal town is home to the impressive Te Hikoi Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the local history and culture. From the old steam engines to the beautifully curated displays showcasing the region’s seafaring and Maori heritage, the museum is a must-visit destination that will enrich your understanding of this unique part of New Zealand.

Oreti Beach with Burt Munro movie story & Colac Bay Marae

Continuing along the coast, you’ll come across the iconic Oreti Beach, which was made famous by the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian.” This is where the legendary Burt Munro raced his motorcycle on the low tide, setting records that still stand today. Take a moment to soak in the breathtaking views and imagine the thrill of Munro’s daring feats.

Just a short distance away, you’ll find the Colac Bay Marae, a traditional Maori meeting place that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. Respectfully explore the marae and learn about the significance of these sacred spaces to the local Maori communities.

Tuatapere with access to Fiordland NP and the Hump Ridge Track

As you continue your journey, you’ll arrive in the sleepy village of Tuatapere, which serves as a gateway to the stunning Fiordland National Park. This region is renowned for its world-class hiking opportunities, and the Hump Ridge Track is a true standout. Whether you opt for a guided tour or tackle the trail independently, the Hump Ridge Track promises breathtaking vistas, historic railway bridges, and a true sense of adventure in one of New Zealand’s most remote and untamed landscapes.

Travelling Southland, Lake Hauroko, Wairaurahiri Jet Tour

Leaving Tuatapere, you’ll venture deeper into the rural heartland of Southland, where the landscape becomes increasingly rugged and remote. Along the way, consider a detour to Lake Hauroko, one of the deepest lakes in New Zealand, and embark on the thrilling Wairaurahiri Jet Tour. This unique experience takes you on a jet boat journey down the Wairaurahiri River, offering a chance to immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness and witness the stunning coastal scenery up close.

Lake Manapouri and start to Doubtful Sound Wilderness day tour

As you approach Manapouri, you’ll encounter the serene Lake Manapouri, one of the deepest lakes in New Zealand. This picturesque setting is the starting point for the renowned Doubtful Sound Wilderness day tour, which takes you on a journey through the breathtaking fjords of Fiordland National Park. Whether you choose to explore Doubtful Sound or simply enjoy the tranquility of Manapouri, this area offers a true respite from the outside world.

Arrival in Te Anau town NZ’s hiking capital

The final leg of your journey brings you to the town of Te Anau, the self-proclaimed “hiking capital of New Zealand.” This charming destination serves as the gateway to some of the country’s most iconic hiking trails, including the Kepler Track and the Milford Track. With a variety of accommodation options, outdoor activities, and breathtaking scenery, Te Anau is the perfect base for exploring the Fiordland region and beyond.

Thoughts on the trip between Invercargill to Te Anau

The drive from Invercargill to Te Anau along the Southern Scenic Route is a true feast for the senses, offering a diverse array of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking stunning coastal landscapes, historic sites, or world-class hiking opportunities, this journey has something to captivate every traveler. By taking the time to explore the charming towns, immerse yourself in the local history and culture, and venture into the untamed wilderness, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

To help you plan your perfect New Zealand adventure, be sure to check out the resources in the description below, including the free travel planning sheet, related YouTube videos, and links to the Hump Ridge Track and other must-see destinations. And don’t forget to follow us on social media for more inspiring stories and insider tips from the Virtual Journeys NZ team.

Other Self-drive Road Trips:

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook National Park

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Dunedin to Invercargill

Wanaka to Franz Josef

Queenstown to Milford Sound

Links to Virtual Journeys Youtube Channel:

Virtual Journeys News & Updates Sign Up
New Zealand Road Trips with Expert Commentary – YouTube
Welcome to the Hump Ridge Track
Hump Ridge Track: Fiordland National Park, Fiordland region
Local Guides sharing real New Zealand Stories & Insider Knowledge with fellow Travellers!
Insider Tips for Transport in New Zealand – Car, RV, Flight, Train – YouTube
UNCOVER! Best Places to Stay in New Zealand Accommodations – YouTube
When is the best time to visit New Zealand – What seasons?
North or South Island New Zealand? 3 Questions to Help Plan Your Trip
Travel time and distance calculator | 100% Pure New Zealand
TikTok – Make Your Day

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