Southern Scenic Route

The Southern Scenic Route is a tourist highway in New Zealand linking Queenstown, Fiordland, Te Anau and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedin via, Riverton, Invercargill and The Catlins.[1] An Australian travel magazine labelled it "one of the world's great undiscovered drives" in 2008.[2]

Southern Scenic Route
Route information
Maintained by NZ Transport Agency, Venture Southland, Destination Queenstown, Destination Fiordland, Clutha District Council, Dunedin City Council and Department of Conservation
Length610 km (380 mi)
Existed6 November 1988–present
Major junctions
West end SH 6 at Queenstown
  SH 6 and SH 97 at Five Rivers

SH 97 and SH 94 at Mossburn
SH 94 and SH 95 at Te Anau
SH 95 at Manapouri
SH 99 at Clifden
SH 6, SH 98 and SH 99 at Lorneville
SH 1 and SH 6 at Invercargill
SH 1 at Balclutha
SH 1 and SH 8 at Clarksville

SH 1 at Waihola
East end SH 1 at Caversham, Dunedin
Highway system
Official logo
On Lake Te Anau


History and development

The Southern Scenic Route concept and name were conceived at an informal gathering by Tuatapere residents John Fraser and Les Hutchins in November 1985 and confirmed at a public meeting in January 1986.[3][4] The promoters then negotiated with road and tourism authorities and local government.

The project was a first for New Zealand and approval was a slow process.[3] At one stage, traffic signs were installed in a clandestine operation.[3] The Route opened officially on 6 November 1988,[3] initially running between Te Anau in the west and Balclutha in the east. It was extended from Balclutha to Dunedin in 1998[3] and from Te Anau to Queenstown in 2010.


Current route

Invercargill Water Tower, viewed from Leet St
Purakaunui Falls, 17 km (11 mi) southwest of Owaka

The Route runs in a U shape from Queenstown to Dunedin.[1] Skirting the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Park, it passes Manapouri and Tuatapere. At Te Waewae Bay the coast is reached and the route swings eastward towards Orepuki, Colac Bay and Riverton. At Lorneville the New Zealand state highway network is joined, and the Southern Scenic Route runs on State Highway 6 for just eight kilometres south into Invercargill.

From Invercargill it heads east through Fortrose into the Catlins then through Owaka to Balclutha. This part was formerly State Highway 92. The next section of rugged coastline with poor roading through Kaitangata is avoided, as the Southern Scenic Route follows State Highway 1 (SH 1) to Milton and Lake Waihola.

The Route leaves the highway at Waihola and climbs through Otago Coast Forest rejoining the coastline at Taieri Mouth. From here it follows secondary roads through Brighton and Green Island, ending where it meets SH 1 again at Caversham.

Proposed extensions

In early 2007[5] a proposal arose to extend the route northward beyond Dunedin through Waitati. In November 2007, the Dunedin City Council confirmed that it planned to talk with the Waitaki District Council about extending the route to Oamaru, an idea that was not adopted.[6]


  1. ^ a b route map on official website
  2. ^ Dennis, Anthony (2 December 2008). "World's top emerging travel destinations" . The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Julie Walls (ed) Southern Scenic Route Visitor Publication 7ed, Focus Publications, Te Anau, November 2006
  4. ^ Dodgshun, Joe (12 February 2011). "Scenic drive completes the circle" . Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  5. ^ from
  6. ^ 'Blueskin Road proposed for Scenic Highway' on, retrieved 19 November 2007

External links


Information as of: 12.08.2021 06:01:33 CEST

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