Southern scenic to Stewart Island itinerary
Have you ever pondered how it feels to arrive at the end of the road? Discover New Zealand's "Deep South," where nature reigns supreme, natives roll their r's, and oysters are to die for. This week-long tour takes you past unspoiled fiords, windswept fishing communities, and all the way down to New Zealand's southernmost island.
Day 1: Queenstown to Te Anau
Take some time to explore Queenstown before you go. It's a beautiful and vibrant alpine town. There's a reason it's such a popular vacation destination. As you circumnavigate Lake Wakatipu beneath the towering Remarkables, the ride from Queenstown to Te Anau is breathtaking, with lake and mountain views opening. With a surface size of 344 square kilometers and three major fiords on its western side, Lake Te Anau is New Zealand's second largest lake. The beachfront is dotted with short walking trails, and exploring on foot is typically one of the greatest ways to take in the area's stunning beauty. Te Anau is also an excellent starting place for exploring Milford Sound's splendor.
Lake TeAnauHM6H+MP, Te Anau 9679, New Zealand
Day 2: A day exploring Milford Sound
Today, you'll take a day journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound. Milford Sound, dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world" by Rudyard Kipling, was formed by glaciers during the ice ages and is stunning in any weather. Mountain peaks scrape the sky and dramatic cliffs rise precipitously from the inky black ocean. A boat tour or scenic flight - or both - is the ideal approach to fully enjoy this location's magnificence. A coach from Te Anau is usually included in boat tours, and some even incorporate kayaking. Keep an eye out for the pods of dolphins, seals, and penguins that make Milford Sound home.
Milford Sound / PiopiotahiMilford Sound / Piopiotahi, Southland 9679, New Zealand
Day 3: Te Anau to Bluff
Head south to Bluff, which is located at the lowest bottom of the New Zealand continent. Bluff is known for its oysters, which are considered some of the best in the world. It is one of New Zealand's oldest European settlements. The whaling, oystering, and shipwrecks are the emphasis of the marine museum here, and the harsh spirit of this ocean-faring town is visible everywhere you go. Don't miss the photo opportunity at Stirling Point, where a bright yellow signpost denotes the mainland's bottom and displays distances to the South Pole and other parts of the globe.
BluffBluff, New Zealand
Day 4: Bluff to Stewart Island
The ferry ride from Bluff to Stewart Island takes one hour and includes plenty of wildlife sightings. The sight of albatross soaring behind the ferry is breathtaking. In Maori, Stewart Island is known as Rakiura, which means "place of beautiful skies." When you see the aurora australis, which happens frequently this far south, you'll understand why. The 400 or so Stewart Island residents are a proud and self-reliant people. New Zealanders are people from the other side of the Fouveaux Strait to them. They are, nonetheless, amicable. Halfmoon Bay, often known as Oban, is the only settlement of any size on the island.
Stewart Island / RakiuraStewart Island / Rakiura, Southland, New Zealand
Day 5: Spend the day on Stewart Island
Take your time today and see everything Stewart Island has to offer. A variety of day and short excursions will transport you deep into the beautiful natural forest. Stewart Island is a bird watcher's dream, teeming with many of New Zealand's unique and endangered species, including the kiwi, which outnumber humans 50 to 1. The kiwi-spotting experience is magical, and it takes place at night because the birds are nocturnal. A boat excursion or fishing charter are also excellent ways to see the island's seas and inlets.
Ulva IslandUlva Island, Southland 9818, New Zealand
Day 6: Stewart Island to Invercargill
Today you'll board the ferry back to the mainland and travel north to Invercargill, New Zealand's bustling capital. The southernmost city in New Zealand has a lot of personality and a kind, welcoming heart. The city's Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco heritage buildings add character, while the city's wide streets make navigation simple. Take a stroll around Queens Park's rose gardens, pay a visit to the Southland Museum's tuatara lounge, or go over to Transport World, the home of all things automotive.
InvercargillInvercargill, New Zealand
Day 7: Invercargill to Dunedin
Today, you have two options for getting to Dunedin: take the lengthy road through The Catlins, a region of wilderness rich in wildlife and magnificent landscapes, or take the shorter route through the city. A more direct route along State Highway 1 allows you to spend more time exploring Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. Dunedin's Victorian and Edwardian architecture is a treasure trove. Historic hotels and big residences that have been transformed to bed & breakfast establishments are available to stay in. Dunedin's other claim to fame is eco-tours to penguin, albatross, and fur seal colonies, some of which involve a cruise up the gorgeous Otago Harbour.
DunedinDunedin, New Zealand
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