DUNEDIN – INVERCARGILL (via Balclutha)
Travel distance is approximately 271kms (169 miles).
Allow at least 3.5 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Southern Scenic Route
Dunedin marks the beginning of your tour of the Southern Scenic Route and as you journey ‘down South’ towards Invercargill you will have plenty of photo opportunities to capture Mother Nature at her best.
All roads on the Southern Scenic Route are sealed however don’t be afraid to take the odd detour off the beaten track to explore this fabulous countryside.
Some notable stops along the route to Invercargill include:
This tidal freshwater lake is located half an hour south of Dunedin. This shallow lake is surrounded by wetlands, including the internationally renowned and protected Sinclair Wetlands that are home to many species of wading birds. There are plenty of walking tracks.
MILTON “THE KINK”
This rural service town has an unusual planning anomaly! Union Street is the main street, however it has a ‘kink’ in it. If you are heading North on the main street you will notice the main road moves a whole road width to the west.
Famous for its 6 arch bridge, the town is nestled on the banks of the mighty Clutha River and is considered the gateway to the Southern Scenic Route. There are plenty of shops and amenities plus some great scenic walks if you wish to take a break from driving and enjoy some fresh air and a nice stroll!
A famous icon in Balclutha, this huge New Zealand souvenir shop is open every day of the year and also features a restaurant and cafe. Visit their shop for a huge range of Kiwi made products and materials, including possum wear, Manuka honey, sheepskin, Ugg boots, knitwear, jewellery, woodwork and more.
A major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route, The Catlins begins just south of Balclutha. Follow the winding road to see sea lions, seals, Hector’s dolphins, penguins and more! From 2 hours to 2 weeks, there is plenty to see and do in The Catlins.
CURIO BAY NATURAL HERITAGE CENTRE
Located in The Catlins, Curio Bay is home to the famous Jurassic Petrified Forest. Considered one of the world’s finest fossil forests, enjoy a daily guided walk at low tide to view the surreal petrified stumps, fallen trees and fern imprints.
The city is considered the gateway to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery and destinations including the Southland heartland, Stewart Island, Fiordland and the Catlins. The central city has been transformed into a modern and attractive area with plenty of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
There is a lovely range of accommodation to choose from, including luxury lodges, holiday houses, modern hotels, motels, bed & breakfast, backpackers and campgrounds… it’s all here!
Southland is famous for its Bluff Oysters, so if you are there during the bluff oyster season make sure you enjoy a feed of fresh oysters! If seafood isn’t quite your style, don’t despair as there is a wide range of dining options available, from cheap takeaways to award winning dining, it’s all here for the tasting! Along with the normal choices of fast food options, there is a great range of cafes and restaurants offering some of the best local cuisine.
Highly recommended Invercargill tourist attractions include…
Southland Museum and Art Gallery – You can’t miss the building, as it is the largest pyramid in the southern hemisphere and home to 500 million years of Southland’s natural history and 800 years of its human history! Along with 3 art galleries, the museum is also home to many live Tuatara and also has an astronomical observatory.
Queens Park – Considered the grandest of all the city’s parks and covering more than 80 hectares, visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions and facilities within the park grounds, including beautiful rose gardens, bush paths, a Japanese garden, azalea garden and much more. The indoor Winter Garden boasts tropical plants. Other on-site attractions include children’s play area, bird aviary, animal enclosure and cafe.
Splash Palace – Lap swim, swoosh down the waterslide, dive or just relax in the swirl pool, whatever your aquatic choice, Splash Palace is a popular family activity spot.
Oreti Beach – Famous thanks to the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’, the beach is also a popular spot with locals and one of few beaches that you can actually drive your vehicle along. At the southern end of Oreti Beach is Sandy Point, a natural playground for walking, mountain biking and horse riding.
Rakiura Rides – Enjoy a 2 hour trek on a well mannered and good natured horse. Enjoy the tangy salt air of riding along Oreti Beach or through native bush and forest.
New Zealand Itineraries: South Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Franz Josef – Wanaka, Wanaka – Mt Cook and Mt Cook – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – St Arnuad, St Arnuad – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Queenstown, Queenstown – Dunedin, Dunedin – Oamaru and Oamaru – Christchurch
- 7 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercargill, Invercargill – Stewart Island, Stewart Island – Te-anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown and Queenstown – Christchurch
- 8 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – Wanaka, Wanaka – Queenstown, Queenstown – Te Anau, Te Anau – Dunedin and Dunedin – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercragill, Invercargill – Te Anau, Te Anau Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo and Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Omarama, Omarama – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Haast, Haast – Greymouth and Greymouth – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Takaka, Takaka – Motueka, Motueka – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 11 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Milford Sound – Queenstown, Queenstown – Wanaka, Wanaka – Franz Josef, Franz Josef – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch