At the extreme ends of New Zealand, you will see some of the most breathtaking scenery in our already magnificent country. The twin coast discovery and southern scenic routes are stunning, and should be at the top of your list if you are contemplating a driving holiday.
The beauty of travelling by car is that you can set your own pace and linger over places that take your fancy. These two routes will give you plenty to enjoy.
The Twin Coast Discovery Highway
Originating in Auckland, the twin coast takes you off the main highway at Orewa, with its golden sand beaches and Waiwera thermal resort adjacent. It meanders up through Whangarei – and to Tutukaka. If you are a keen diver, the Poor Knights Islands just off Tutukaka are a must-see.
Continue north to the historic Bay of Islands and take in Russell and Waitangi, Kerikeri and Paihia.
From here, you can turn inland and head towards Kaitaia and world-famous 90 Mile Beach and the very tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga.
If you choose to go south, you will cruise through the Hokianga and enjoy the serenity of the harbour and the luxury of its isolation. The Kauri Coast and Waipous Forest (home to the majestic Tane Mahuta – the largest Kauri in the world) is an otherworldly experience, on your way to Dargaville then back to Whangarei.
The Southern Scenic Route
The deep south has a beauty all of its own. To drive the southern scenic route, you leave from Dunedin, with its beautiful architecture and history and move along the wild Caitlins coast. The sea-life around Nugget Point is diverse and rich – it is one of the few places you will see fur seals, Hooker’s sea lions and sea elephants living side by side, along with yellow-eyed and blue penguins.
From the Caitlins you head south to Invercargill. Should you be so inclined, take a trip over to Stewart Island, or head northwest to Manapouri and Te Anau. Don’t miss Fiordland or the opportunity to walk one of our newest tracks, Tuatapere Humpridge track.
The southern scenic route ends in Queenstown, which is a hub for adventure sports and activities.
Either route is gorgeous all year round and is well signposted. There is often nothing better than being a tourist in your own country!