South Island, New Zealand – Some of the best experiences in a trip are the unexpected moments, and how best to stumble upon such moments by taking a road trip. Car rental options are aplenty in south New Zealand, although I do strongly recommend picking up your car with a local car rental company as the pricing would be more competitive.
Here are some of the most scenic drives we took in our previous trip to New Zealand last year, which you might want to consider plotting them down too!
Te Anau -> Milford Sound
A trip to New Zealand’s South Island would not be complete without visiting Milford Sound, as I was informed. Therefore, we booked a cruise to take in the sights there. What we did not expect was how enjoyable the drive from Te Anau and Milford Sound was. Soak in the changing views while taking the drive, from driving through the forest, to the plains, and down into the valley, this is perhaps one of the more challenging drives during the trip down south, hence do exercise much caution while taking the sharp steep bands.
Queenstown -> Wanaka
Aptly named the Crown Range Road, the drive from Queenstown to Wanaka would perhaps be amongst one of the most scenic and easy drive between the two towns. Start by climbing up the slopes through a zig-zag stretch of road, and circling the mountain ranges through the valley before arriving at the historic town of Cardrona. Many viewpoints dot this first stretch of the journey, so have your cameras ready!
Wanaka -> Franz Josef
Many would visit the glaciers at Franz Josef while touring South Island of New Zealand. The drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef would take more than 4 hours, although there is much to soak in along the way.
Both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea provides awesome backdrop for many picturesque view of the mountain ranges in the area. The Makarora Road is also dotted with many pitstops including Blue Pools and various waterfalls. Do stop at Bruce Bay Coffee Cart right beside the coastline for your caffeine fix before arriving at Franz Josef.
Tekapo -> Mt Cook
The drive from Tekapo to Mt Cook takes just slightly over an hour, although you would get to drive down the entire length of Lake Pukaki. Enjoy the impossibly blue and dreamy looking lakes, and savour fresh salmon sashimi slices at Mount Cook Alpine Salmon while taking a mid-way break.
Before arriving at Aoraki Mount Cook Village, make an obligatory halt at the last straight stretch of the roads, just after the Unwin Lodge. This is the spot where most instagram-worthy shots of Mount Cook are captured. Once in Mt Cook, do not miss doing some of the best short hikes in the country as well!
Queenstown -> Glenorchy
Glenorchy might not have much to offer, but the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is definitely a highlight. Make a stop at the Bennetts Bluff Lookout to soak in the unspoilt view of nature, with bending roads on the right down the mountain slopes, alongside the blue Lake Wakaputi which make an interesting contrast for photography.
Ranted by The Rantee