NZ – Southern Scenic Route

The Southern Scenic Route (SSR) of New Zealand begins in Queenstown, runs southeast to Te Anau, then along the south coast to Invercargill, north through the Catlins on the east coast, and ends in Dunedin.  We’ve traveled the entire four hundred mile route over the past week!

For three nights, we used Te Anau, in the Fiordlands National Park, as a home base while we toured Milford Sound and went on a couple of great  hikes.  Pictures of Milford Sound are often found on the front of tourism brochures – that’s how gorgeous it is!!  Unfortunately, it was cloudy, drizzly and misty the day we went, so my photographs don’t do it justice.  Here is a photograph of what Milford Sound looks like on a sunny day:

Milford Sound on a clear day
Milford Sound on a clear day

And here is a photograph I took on the day we went:

Milford Sound on a cloudy day
Milford Sound on a cloudy day

Looks like a different place, but it was still very lovely in a misty sort of way!

When we left Te Anau, we traveled along the SSR to the south coast of New Zealand and stayed in Invercargill, which is not a very interesting place. But it’s near the town of Bluff, which is the southernmost point on the South Island:

Signpost at Bluff
Signpost at Bluff – 9,300 miles to NY but only 3,000 miles to the South Pole!

Along the SSR we passed these scenes:

Scene along the road to Milford Sound
Scene along the road to Milford Sound
Fiordland National Park from SSR
Fiordland National Park from SSR
Southern Coast of New Zealand
Southern Coast of New Zealand
Unbelievably windy on the south coast - note trees almost on their sides!
Unbelievably windy on the south coast – note trees almost on their sides!
Sheep crossing the road!
Sheep crossing the road!

New Zealand has nine “Great Hikes”, which are multi-day backpacking trips.  I would have loved to do ALL of them when I was younger/in better shape!  But, we’ve done quite a few one-to-three hour hikes, which included portions of the Great Hikes, and these are some of the scenes we saw:

Hike Scene 1
Woods on one of our hikes
Stream on Keplar Track
Gorgeous clear stream on Kepler Track
Swing Bridge on hike - there were many!
Swing Bridge on hike – there were many!
Another hiking scene
Another hiking scene

We’ve had a couple of days in Dunedin, which is a college town founded by Scottish immigrants in the mid-1800’s.  Yesterday, we drove out to the Otago Peninsula and visited an Albatross colony:

Otago Peninsula
Otago Peninsula

Today’s been rainy, so we went to a Farmer’s Market this morning, and an amazing local history museum this afternoon.  We only have four more full days to enjoy New Zealand, so I’m going to stop writing, and enjoy!

3 thoughts on “NZ – Southern Scenic Route

  1. Unbelievably beautiful, Chris! Love the comparative picture of Milford Sound. Thanks for sharing these special moments and scenes with us. Postcard ready at every turn it seems. Where do the people live and what do most of them do? From your pictures, it looks like most of the country is undeveloped, which is a blessing and treasure in and of itself.

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    1. Hi Shannon! Only about 1 million people live on the South Island, and over half of them are in the three main cities. It’s roughly 58,000 square miles, which is about the same size as Georgia, which has ten times the population! The largest industry is agricultural – we have seen sheep farms everywhere, and tons of cattle as well!

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