Last Updated on January 2, 2016
One can easily explore New Zealand’s Deep South with the assistance of one of the many car rental companies. Leisurely driving the scenic area is the best way to experience the beauty, majesty, history and secrets of the Deep South. Exploring more than just Queenstown, one can find much to see when travelling off the beaten track. A tour of the following southern cities is the perfect way to discover, experience and photograph the panoramic scenery of southern New Zealand.
Begin your tour in Queenstown, where you can also rent a car. Situated on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown offers unparalleled scenic beauty as well as thrills that include bungy jumping. The Kawarau River is the birthplace of the bungy jump. Skiing, sky diving, jet boating and river rafting as well as milder hiking and walking are all part of the excitement of this city.
The real history of Queenstown began when two sheep herders discovered gold in 1862, close to the Shotover River. Named for Queen Victoria, the town grew up as a gold rush ensued.
Today, one finds an array of boutique shopping, restaurants, spas and golfing as well as the more active indulgences of the city. Tours into the back country are available as a 4WD safari helps explore the amazing landscape. After exploring all the excitement of Queenstown, you will be ready to travel next to Dunedin, approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes away.
This city, built with the riches that ensued after the gold rush in the 1860s, contains architecturally splendid examples of Victorian and Edwardian buildings and homes. You will find ornately-designed mansions as well as Gothic churches with towering spires. Moreover, you might even visit a chocolate factory located here.
The panoramic views of Dunedin Harbour make this an ideal destination. You might see some of its inhabitants that include seal colonies, penguins and albatross on the Otago Peninsula, a short drive away. Often referred to as the eco-capital of New Zealand, this area has abundant sights that include the Moeraki Boulders, a continuing mystery. After you have thoroughly experienced this fascinating area, it is time to head on to Invercargill, approximately 2.5 hours away.
The city of Invercargill dates back to the time, during the 1850s, that settlers from the Scottish area of Dunedin began to purchase land for their sheep to inhabit; it is the city in New Zealand that has the distinction of being the furthest south.
Within the city of Invercargill, one can visit the Queen’s Park, 80 hectares of beautiful rhododendron, roses, azaleas, native forests, a Japanese garden, herb garden, rock garden and much more. Discover the bird aviary and enjoy a play area with the children.
Here at the Southland Museum, you can visit the Tuatarium to learn more about the tuatara, a native reptile. Discover a fossil forest at the Catlins or meet a sea-lion or yellow-eyed penguins as well as kiwis on Stewart Island. After all this, the next stop on your driving tour is the lakeside village of Wanaka, approximately 3 hours away.
Considered the Southern Alps, the town of Wanaka features an array of unique shops, cafes and restaurants as well as many things to see and do. Aside from being a paradise for skiers and boarders, the area is a base for hikers in the summer. With a love of airplanes and aviation, Wanaka offers flightseeing, sky diving and is the site of the spectacular Warbirds Over Wanaka a show that includes classic airplanes.
Visit the quirky Cinema Paradiso; a classic movie theater or the National Transport and Toy Museum.
Head back to Queenstown to complete your tour, a drive of approximately an hour from Wanaka. The more adventurous can take the alternative route through the Crown Range, and discover the highest main road in the country. Views are stunning, and photos will be taken often. One can stay at a historic hotel there as well.
This is real way to see marvelous New Zealand’s Deep South; excitement, panoramic majestic views, abundant wildlife, entertainment and exploration await you, with the aid of a car rental and a sense of adventure.