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Southern Scenic Route official logo
On Lake Te Anau
The Southern Scenic Route is a tourist highway in New Zealandmarker linking Fiordlandmarker, Te Anaumarker and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedinmarker via, Riverton, Invercargillmarker and The Catlinsmarker. Travel + Leisure magazine labelled it "one of the world's great undiscovered drives" in 2008.

History and development

The Southern Scenic Route concept and name were conceived at an informal gathering in Tuataperemarker in November 1985 and confirmed at a public meeting in January 1986. The promotors then negotiated with road and tourism authorities and local government.

The project was a first for New Zealand and approval was a slow process. At one stage, traffic signs were installed in a clandestine operation.The Southern Scenic Route opened officially on 6 November 1988, initially Te Anaumarker-Balcluthamarker. The route was extended to Dunedinmarker in 1998.


Current route

Invercargill Water Tower, taken from Leet St
The Southern Scenic Route follows a U-shaped route from Te Anaumarker to Dunedinmarker. Skirting the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Parkmarker the route passes Manapourimarker and Tuataperemarker. At Te Waewae Baymarker the coast is reached and the route swings eastward towards Orepukimarker, Colac Baymarker and Riverton. At Lorneville the New Zealand State Highway network is joined and the Southern Scenic Route follows Highway 6 south into Invercargillmarker.

From Invercargill the Southern Scenic Route heads east through Fortrosemarker into the Catlinsmarker then through Owakamarker to Balclutha. The next section of rugged coastline with poor roading through Kaitangata is avoided as the Southern Scenic Route follows SH1 to Miltonmarker and Lake Waiholamarker.

The Southern Scenic Route leaves the highway at Waihola and climbs through Otago Coast Forest rejoining the coastline at Taieri Mouthmarker. From here the route follows secondary roads through Brightonmarker and Green Islandmarker into Dunedin's southern suburbs, ending where it meets SH1 again at Cavershammarker.

Proposed extension

In early 2007 a proposal arose to extend the route northward beyond Dunedin through Waitatimarker. Later, in November 2007, the Dunedin City Councilmarker confirmed that it was planning to talk with the Waitaki District Council about extending the route to Oamarumarker.


  1. Julie Walls (ed) Southern Scenic Route Visitor Publication 7ed, Focus Publications, Te Anau, November 2006
  2. route map on official website
  3. from
  4. 'Blueskin Road proposed for Scenic Highway' on, retrieved 19 November 2007

External links

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