Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand

The Southern tip of South Island is often skipped on many backpacker routes, probably due to the weather deteriorating as well as the number of things to do isn’t that much. But with a camper, if there is a road and we have time there is no excuse not to drive it!

The Southern Scenic Route starts in Fiordland and runs down the coast to Invercargill, The Catlins and around ending up in Dunedin. It took us 2 days to complete the 610km, stopping a various sites around route as well as the DOC site half way across.

The starting point at Invercargill is one of the largest cities we had visited, with apparently a population of 52,000 people. However when we visited this city the wide open spaces made it feel more like a ghost town, then a hub of the Southern region. Staying only a short night to start our journey the next day it didn’t really matter what attractions there were to offer, except a good number of petrol stations, supermarkets and liquor stores. South of Invercargill is the port of Bluff, famous for its oysters and place to catch a ferry to Stewart Island.

After Invercargill, the route continues to the region of The Catlins covering 70km. This is a stretch of rugged coastline passing isolated beaches, petrified forests (at Curio Bay), lighthouses (Waipapa Point), waterfalls, Cathedral Caves and if lucky Hector’s Dolphin and yellow eyed penguins at Porpoise Bay.

Which stayed at a DOC site near Purakaunui Falls before heading onto Dunedin ( the New Zealand’s version of Edingburgh). This area in general is really an untamed corner of New Zealand due to it being off the beaten track for many.
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