The Southern Scenic Route
This journey between Queenstown and Dunedin is approximately 610 kilometres (km) of natural and cultural attractions laid out one after the other – wildlife viewing, short walks, mountain-biking, fishing, hunting, boating, camping, tramping and caving – making it an ideal drive for those with time to explore. Alternative inland roads provide a more direct path between the main centres. However, the Southern Scenic Route (SSR) is a journey that allows access to deserted beaches, lush rainforest, pristine lakes and stunning mountain vistas.
The Southern Scenic Route was originally conceived by the people of Tuatapere, Western Southland, who, in 1985, decided to share the delights of southern New Zealand with all those who took the time to venture down their way. Their determination and perseverance has created a wonderful holiday experience and entertained admiring visitors from all over the world.
The Southern Scenic Route is sealed, but roads to some attractions may not be. Some points of interest may be across private land, and access is by courtesy of the landowner. On unsealed roads, slow down and drive to the conditions. If you come across sheep and cattle being moved along roads, please drive slowly and show consideration.
The Southern Scenic Route is indicated by brown signs with the symbol below.
• Please ensure you have enough fuel in your vehicle as distances between fuel stops can be large.
• Dress for the weather and be prepared for it to change.
• Carry and apply insect repellent particularly in the Hauroko and Borland areas.
• Keep at least 20 metres away from wildlife.
• Even the easiest walks need safety sense - be prepared!
• Stay on the track and remain behind any barriers.
• Check tide times before you start.
• Enjoy your journey and please travel safely and with care.
There are many camping grounds with excellent facilities along the Southern Scenic Route. We recommend that you stay in Holiday Parks, DOC camping grounds or other designated areas. Freedom camping is not permitted outside these areas without the express permission of councils and landowners. Please obey signs and, if in doubt, ask a local person or information centre. For further information see: www.camping.org.nz.
Help us protect our people, land, water and native species, so that these treasures can be shared now and in the future. You can contribute to recycling in New Zealand during your travels by supporting sustainable products and businesses, and making a dedicated effort to use the many recycling stations.
The scenery along the Southern Scenic Route is breathtaking, and this experience is amplified when walking the various tracks. Take a leisurely day walk or go bush for a few days on a Great Walk – there are options to suit your level of fitness and experience. Visit a Department of Conservation office or www.doc.govt.nz for further information on tracks.
To find and book accommodation please visit the regional websites.
Whether you’re looking for an adrenalin pumping technical track or an easy family ride, the Southern Scenic Route features tracks that are ideal for two wheeled exploring. Some tracks are designed for both walkers and bikers, so please keep to your left and use your bell or call out when passing.
The Southern Scenic Route traverses some of the finest trout fishing spots in New Zealand. These waters include lakes Wakatipu, Te Anau and Manapouri, and the Mataura, Oreti, Mararoa, Waiau and Aparima rivers. Fishing licences are required to fish for trout and can be bought from sports/ fishing stores, Fish & Game offices in Dunedin or Invercargill, or online at: www.fishandgame.org.nz. Saltwater fishing is popular around the south coast with target species varying by location, from blue cod to tuna and shark. No fishing licence is required to catch sea fish; however there are strictly enforced bag limits which vary depending on the location.