New Zealand is home to the world’s most stunning scenic drives. Be amazed at every turn. Picturesque towns. Glistening lakes. Rolling farmland. Towering mountains. Plunging waterfalls. The best way to discover the ever-changing landscape is by car.
Be inspired by 10 of our favourite scenic routes
#10 East Cape
Start your road trip in Gisborne, a remote region on the east coast of the North Island. Follow the coast past white sand beaches, native forest, small Maori villages and rolling surf breaks. A route less known by tourists, enjoy the endless ocean views often uninterrupted. Steeped in Maori history, make sure to visit Tolaga Bay, Hicks Bay, and Tokomaru Bay along the way.
#9 Crown Range Road
The Crown Range Road is New Zealand’s highest road, reaching an altitude of 1121 metres. It lies between Queenstown and Wanaka and takes approximately one hour to drive. Take your time and stop to admire the mountainous and lake views. Visit the iconic Cardrona Hotel or the quirky Cardrona Valley Bra Fence.
#8 Surf Highway 45
Follow the coast from New Plymouth to Hawera. Set on the west coast of the North Island, Surf Highway 45 is not just for surfers. From black sand beaches, rolling hills and sheep-filled farmland to the striking Mount Taranaki in the Egmont National Park, art galleries, museums and coastal walkways.
#7 The Milford Road
Milford Road is the gateway into the heart of the Fiordland National Park. The journey between Te Anau and Milford Sound is simply breathtaking. There is plenty to see, so make sure you have plenty of time to stop, take photographs and discover the walking trails. There are endless highlights including deep valleys, thick native bush, wild lupin flowers and the mirror lakes.
Our local knowledge makes the difference
Experience New Zealand in a uniquely local way
Would you like more information about New Zealand? Please fill in one of our contact request forms and one of our travel specialists will contact you ASAP.
#6 Haast Pass
Begin in the vibrant alpine town of Wanaka and make your way through Mount Aspiring National Park into the heart of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area. Haast Pass is bursting with spectacular views and short walks. Have a pit stop along the way and walk the Blue Pools Track. From ancient rainforest, plunging waterfalls, crystal clear lakes to towering mountains and braided rivers, you won’t be disappointed with the scenery along Haast Pass.
#5 West Coast Route
Stretching along the west coast of South Island, from Westport to Haast is the West Coast Route. A rugged coastline with quirky towns, rainforests, glaciers, deserted beaches, and national parks. Visit the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, explore Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, and don’t forget to taste the famous whitebait fritters in Hokitika.
#4 Mount Cook Road
Connecting Pukaki with Mount Cook National Park, this scenic drive follows the lake edge of Lake Pukaki. Soak up the views of the bright blue water and the striking Mount Cook and Southern Alps. Do you have some extra time? Take a slight detour and hike the Hooker Valley Track. This track is 10 kilometres and suitable for all fitness levels.
#3 Arthur’s Pass
Climbing 924 metres through the heart of Arthur's Pass National Park is one of the highest settlements in New Zealand. A stretch of mountainous road connecting Christchurch with the wild West Coast, is one of the most spectacular scenic drives in the South Island. Arthur’s Pass Village is the starting point for many walks through the national park. Including Bealey Spur Track, Avalanche Peak and the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall.
#2 The Southern Scenic Route
A road less travelled but no less fascinating. The Southern Scenic Route is quite the journey from Dunedin to Queenstown. Leading you along the coastline of The Catlins to Invercargill. A variety of wildlife, deserted beaches, rainforests, lakes, mountains and plenty of activities to tick off your bucket list.
#1 Lindis Pass
A dramatic alpine road that runs through Cromwell in Central Otago to Omarama, North Otago. From golden tussock covered mountains to a blanket of snow, depending on the time of year. Enjoy a picnic by the Ahuriri River, discover the walking trails or go horseback riding and mountain biking. There are plenty of native bird species to spot, including the kārearea - New Zealand falcon.
Discover more about New Zealand
Are you thinking about travelling around New Zealand in a campervan? Here are some things to consider, to help you… read more
We cannot stop talking about the highlights of New Zealand, because the country offers countless surprises. From… read more
All the things you love
and none of the things you don't
Our local knowledge makes the difference for your bespoke holiday through New Zealand or Australia. Your Journey Down Under starts here.
We would love to discuss your dream journey