For the outdoor enthusiast, few destinations compare to New Zealand. New Zealand has it all, from glaciers to rugged coastal cliffs to pristine beaches to rolling countryside. As you might imagine, with this much natural beauty, New Zealand features long, winding roads that make for gorgeous half-day, day, and weekend road trips. As you’re planning your next South Pacific trip, don’t miss these four scenic coastal drives in New Zealand.
Southern Scenic Route. If there’s one route you drive on your next trip to New Zealand, make sure it’s the Southern Scenic Route. The Southern Scenic Route is the top coastal drive in New Zealand and one of the best in the world. We recommend giving yourself a long weekend for this drive, since it covers nearly 400 miles. Start just south of Dunedin, where the route begins and start making your way south along the coast before heading west across the southern coastline. The route features a variety of adventure activities and scenic views, making this one of the best places for taking photos in New Zealand.
Great West Coast Road. The Great West Coast Road in New Zealand is another drive you could spend much more than just a day exploring. The road is off the beaten path and features a bit of everything, from glaciers to rivers to overlooks of the ocean. Make sure to stop at Franz Josef Glacier, which is one of the most famous glaciers in the world. The outdoor enthusiast could spend an entire day alone exploring Franz Josef Glacier.
Milford Road. In addition to the Southern Scenic Route, Milford Road is another one of New Zealand’s most popular drives. This is yet another drive that can easily be turned into a weekend trip because of its many offerings for the outdoor and adventure enthusiast, including rainforests, Mirror Lakes, waterfalls, and mountains. End your trip at Milford Sound, where you could easily spend a day exploring the waterfalls, cliffs, and sound itself.
Queen Charlotte Drive. If you don’t have time to commit to a long weekend drive in New Zealand, then this is the drive for you. The Queen Charlotte Drive is much shorter and can be enjoyed on a half-day or day visit. The scenic loop goes from Picton to Havelock and back. The drive winds around cozy bays with multiple views of Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds. Havelock is a good spot for stopping to grab a bite to eat for lunch.
What’s your favorite scenic drive in the world?