Southern Scenic Route

July 22, 2020

Southern Scenic Route

This journey between Queenstown and Dunedin is approximately 610 kilometres (km) of natural and cultural attractions laid out one after the other – wildlife viewing, short walks, mountain-biking, fishing, hunting, boating, camping, tramping and caving – making it an ideal drive for those with time to explore. Alternative inland roads provide a more direct path between the main centres. However, the Southern Scenic Route (SSR) is a journey that allows access to deserted beaches, lush rainforest, pristine lakes and stunning mountain vistas.


1. Arrive into Queenstown

Hire a Car

Bus: Tracknet, Ph +64 03 249 7777

Te Anau Transfers: or 0204832628

Envy Experiences, Fully Electric Tesla

Queenstown Harbour, New Zealand

Begin your journey in Queenstown




2. Along the drive from Queenstown to Te Anau

Great Photo Stops along the Devils staircase, there are several places to safely pullover for a scenic photo


Real Country”; Great Farm Tour/Country Experiences about 2km south of Kingston, Archery, Stock whips training, all the animals you can think of, to touch, feed and mob up some sheep.


The Dome at Mossburn have great coffee and homemade delights.

Bracken Hall many gift lines and New Zealand made items and tasty real Fruit Ice Creams


3. Te Anau

Radfords on the Lake – Premium Lakefront Accommodation right on the Lakefront.

Stay in Te Anau and explore Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Glow Worm Caves, Faith in Fordland, a day walk on one of the Great walks, Milford, Kepler, or Routeburn Tracks. Book an unforgettable New Zealand helicopter tour with Southern Lakes Helicopters

Restaurant Options

Sandfly Café for delicious breakfast and coffee

Bao Now for delicious Baos a great option for lunch

The Fat Duck is a wonderful Gastro Pub serving up great NZ food

Lake Te Anau, Te Anau

Visit beautiful Lake Te Anau


4. Head South via the Southern Scenic Route


Just 20kms from Te Anau, stop and admire Lake Manapouri, Lake Manapouri is the second deepest lake in New Zealand and has a large hydro power station at the end of its west arm.

Lake Huroko

Remote Lake Hauroko, NZ’s deepest Lake

Orepuki Beach Café – this is a great lunch stop right on the coast.  Find them on Facebook

Cosy Nook and Monkey Island

13 kms from Cosy Nook is a wonderful 2hr15min walk called Round Hill/Long Hilly Track

  • This walking track is an extensive historic trek through New Zealand gold mining history with relics left from the Chinese and European settlement from the 19th century. Walkers will enjoy quiet native bush as they walk the gravel track, spot old saw milling artifacts, look out for native birds, and view the crumbling earth dams.
  • There are multiple tracks that start and end from this point but there is a loop track available for day-walkers which takes 2hr15min.


A small town 30 kilometres west of Invercargill and located on the south-eastern shorelines of the Jacobs River Estuary, while there be sure to check out the Riverton Rocks – great photo opportunity.


Fondly dubbed the “City of Water and Light”, referring to the long summer daylight hours, frequent appearances of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), and the city’s position beside the Waihopai River estuary, Invercargill has plenty of character and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere

For Invercargill, this was only the beginning. Now called New Zealand’s “Classic Motoring Capital”, the city boasts an impressive vintage truck collection at Bill Richardson Transport World – the largest private collection of its type in the world, a world-class display of over 300 motorcycles and motorcycle related artwork at Classic Motorcycle Mecca, and a celebration of the legend of speed himself, Burt Munro, at E Hayes Motorworks.  Click here for restaurants, accommodation and things to see and do


5. Stewart Island

Whether you have come to enjoy the land, sea and night-scapes, view the wildllife, walk, boat, fish, dive, kayak, hunt or just relax – a Stewart Island holiday will be an experience that will draw you back again and again.


Stewart Island Beach, New Zealand

Venture down to Stewart Island and enjoy the untouched landscape


6. Catlins

The Catlins, the spectacular coastal stretch between Invercargill and Balclutha, boasts a rugged beauty and untouched quality that is magnetic. Here you’ll find a world of native forests fringed by high cliffs, deserted sandy beaches, sparkling bays, cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes, blowholes, caves, picturesque lighthouses and even a petrified forest. These environments are home to an array of fauna, from native birds, to seals, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. The Catlins’ natural landscapes are enthralling, and the wildlife is extraordinary.

5 things to do in the Catlins

  • See Purakaunui Falls. The cascading, multi-tiered Purakaunui Falls are said to be among the most-photographed in New Zealand, and can be easily reached via a short bush walk.
  • Visit Nugget Point. …
  • Explore Cathedral Caves. …
  • Mclean Falls
  • Get curious at Curio Bay.


The mighty Clutha river, New Zealand’s most voluminous goes through the heart of Balclutha. The river is an important part of the town’s history – it encouraged farmers to the area and brought fame but mainly fortune with the discovery of gold.


7. Dunedin

Dunedin is a city in New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast. It’s known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a large student population. Hiking and cycling trails crisscross the dramatic landscape of the adjoining Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins.

Fly out from Dunedin Airport

  • We stayed here for only one night prior to our overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, which is a shame because it was one of the best places we stayed in on our three-week trip around New Zealand, and a longer stay would have been most welcome. Room 12 was large, and beautifully appointed with an extremely comfy bed. Kerri on reception was excellent; efficient and very welcoming about things to do in Te Anau.
    Jinty21 – February 2024  Read Reviews
  • My husband and I spent four glorious nights at Redford’s on the Lake…. What a slice of heaven, with the lake right in front of our eyes…. Kerri was the most gracious, helpful and conscientious host. She knows all about the area, had great restaurant recommendations, where to grocery shop, and what to see and do. And always with a smile. We felt like we were visiting someone’s luxurious vacation home with beautiful linens, lush curtains, several types of pillows for comfort and wallpaper and lots of great amenities. Good/strong Wi-Fi, super comfortable king-size bed, anything, and everything you could imagine you need as a traveller was provided including use of their washer and dryer facility, including laundry detergent,…always a bonus! We hiked three strenuous hikes three days in a row and coming home to the large Jacuzzi bathtub in our bathroom was heaven. Great for sore muscles. Our one-bedroom suite was spacious and luxurious. If we ever get back to Lake Teanau, we will definitely be coming back to Redford’s on the Lake. It’s a five-star plus accommodation with the most gracious owner and staff.
    Freddi W – February 2024  Read Reviews
  • We truly enjoyed our stay at Radford’s on the Lake. Our room was very clean and spacious with a wonderful view of the lake and easy parking. The location was perfect with an easy stroll to town for any restaurants or activities as well as a short drive to Milford Sound. However, the best aspect was the service provided by Kerri. She gave us wonderful recommendations to make the most of our visit and even loaned my husband a raincoat when he forgot his. She truly made us feel welcome.
    Traveller227 – February 2024  Read Reviews
  • Superbly appointed accommodation and lovely view of the lake. All the staff were great too! Fairly short and level walk into town so easy to get to cafes, restaurants and shops. Plenty of parking at the Radfords and in town. Te Anau is a great location to head off into Fjordland - less than an hour to the reserve and only 90 minutes to Milford Sound.
    Ian L – January 2024  Read Reviews
  • We stayed 2 nights in January 2024. What a nice place to stay! A very warm welcome from Kerri, and an introduction to our room. The room was with 2 bedrooms, we travelled as family, nice and clean. The kitchenette was with things we needed for preparing breakfast. Good and comfortable beds, a nice view to the Lake Te Anau. We asked for recommended restaurants and Kerri was nice to show us places for dinner and drew on a map where to go. Excellent service and great hospitality from the management. Our best recommendations to Radfords on the Lake.
    Steenlerche – January 2024  Read Reviews
  • It was the cutest little “motel” we have stayed. The room was beautiful overlooking the lake. We had the first-floor room and had a great view. The name motel only applies to the fact that we could see where we parked our car. However, it felt more luxurious when you got inside. Comfortable bed, clean linens and a very cute little kitchen. The lady at the front desk was wonderful and gave us plenty of Great tips on where to eat. We hope to visit again one day and stay again
    Bella – January 2024  Read Reviews

Our Environmental Promise

We are committed to preserving our beautiful surroundings and reducing our footprint on the environment.



We received this wonderful review recently from a lovely guest while we (Kerri and Steve) were away on holiday. With Kylie in charge in our absence, we always know Radfords is in good hands. Kylie looks after Radfords like it's her own and we couldn't appreciate her more for her unwavering dedication and hard work. We love having Kylie on our team and our guests love her too.
Last month we celebrated the amazing Jeanette, an integral member of our team for the last 10 years and long term friend of Kerri's. A team player with the highest standards and an all round bloody good person. Radfords on the Lake would not be the same without her. Jeanette keeps the team in high spirits with her great sense of humour, we're a better team with her on it. Never one to say no to a glass or two of Merlot with some chips and kiwi onion dip after a long day. Jeanette, we want to say a huge thank you for all your hard work over the years, we appreciate you so much. We look forward to many more years together at Radfords on the Lake.
As the sun goes down on another year, we would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you too all our lovely guests who visited us over the last year. We love sharing  beautiful Te Anau with so many people from near and far. We can't wait to welcome many more visitors in 2024. 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new from Kerri, Steve, Shelley, Katie and all the team at Radfords on the Lake.
From the Radfords on the Lake family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas 🎅🏽🤶🏼🎄🍾
If you are visiting Te Anau this summer make sure to add a trip on @fiordlandhistoriccruises to your bucket list. Enjoy a leisurely cruise across the south fiord of lake Te Anau into beautiful untouched wilderness. We can help you make a booking before you arrive so you don't miss out.
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
Looking for the perfect present for a loved one this Christmas. Give the gift of a Fiordland Experience. Book a Te Anau getaway now for winter 2023 for just $250 per night.

This special rate is  based on 2 people sharing with a minimum 3 night stay in a Standard Studio or Ground Floor One Bedroom. SAVE up to $100 per night.

#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
🎃 H A L L O W E E N  2 0 2 3 🎃
We always get asked how close we are to the centre of town, so we thought we’d show you! Come with us on our short, flat 7 minute walk from Te Anau town centre back to the lake views from Radfords.
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
Throwback Thursday! Reminiscing on a great night at the @hospitalitynz Awards for Excellence 2023 back in June. While we didn't win on the night, we were super proud to be a finalist alongside some fantastic motels. And it's always fun to get dressed up in the big city and celebrate our great industry with all our industry friends.
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
If you're visiting us during school holidays and your looking for some family friendly activities, make sure a visit to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves with @real.newzealand  is top of your list. This unique Fiordland experience is not to be missed. We can help you make a booking before you arrive or chat to our friendly team when you check-in.

📸 @real.newzealand 
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
We made the most of the gorgeous spring weather over the weekend and got out to enjoy one of our favourite things to do in Te Anau, -  a stroll along the lakefront. A must do when you visit us.
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland
Wow! We can't believe it's the first day of spring. While we love the cosy winter nights we are ready for the longer days and warmer temps. We're looking forward to evenings on the patio sipping a glass of Rosé. Who is planning a Fiordland adventure this spring?

📸 @digitaltravelcouple 
#fiordland #fiordlandnz #lovefiordland #fiordlandbeyondbelief #radfordsonthelake
#fiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiordlandnz #nz #destinationnz #milfordsound #laketeanau #teanau #doubtfulsound #nzmustdo #southislandnz #southisland #newzealand #purenewzealand #purenz #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #newzealandtravel #dosomethingnewnz #mysouthland #southland