Take the 610 kilometre journey between Queenstown and Dunedin taking you through the Clutha District.
You will find diverse landscapes and wildlife mixed with rich history, culture, charming townships, and plenty of adventure along the way!
Dunedin > Waihola
Heading South of Dunedin, your first stop is Lake Waihola - New Zealand’s most inland tidal lake, famous for its mirror-like reflections, and popular for watersports in the Summer. Lake Waihola is surrounded by the Sinclair Wetlands, a tranquil haven boasting a number of day walks among native wildlife habitats.
The route of one of New Zealand’s Great Rides, the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail, currently taking you from Lake Roxburgh (Central Otago) to Lawrence will be extended all the way to Lake Waihola in the next couple of years.
Waihola > Balclutha
Continue heading South along the Southern Scenic Route towards Balclutha - Clutha District’s largest town. This big river town is famous for its iconic arched bridge over the Clutha River. Stop for a bite to eat at one of Balclutha's main street cafes, or dine in at the old fire station, now a Mexican eatery Casafuego Eatery and Bar.
Balclutha > The Catlins
Following the signage towards Owaka, shortly you will be welcomed to The Catlins – a crown-jewel of the Southern Scenic Route.
The Catlins is one of New Zealand’s finest eco-destinations swathed in lush green rainforest, boasting beautiful beaches, wonderful waterfalls, amazing wildlife and is a true highlight of the Southern Scenic Route
If you visit at the right time of day, you could catch a glimpse of the Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) some of The World’s rarest penguins at Roaring Bay, as well as a variety of seals and sea lions.
DO - Walk out to Nugget Point Lighthouse, an iconic site for uninterrupted views over the nugget shaped rocks below, or head out to sea with Catlins Kayak and Adventures to take in the remote Catlins coastline at daybreak.
Explore the spectacular Catlins Conservation Park with a guided sunrise tour by Catlins Scenic and Wildlife Tours, visiting waterfalls dotted throughout the region such as the triple-tiered falls at Purakaunuior the highest waterfall at MacLean Falls. If you're visiting between October to May, a must-do at low tide are the Cathedral Caves – one of the world’s largest sea cave complexes at 30m high with more than 200m of passageways.
STAY - From eco cottages and farm stays to holiday homes and coastal camping - you will find an array of accommodation scattered throughout the Catlins. Stay at Catlins Mohua Park Eco Accommodation - four king studio cottages nestled in beautiful bush with breathtaking views of the Catlins River Valley, or The Whistling Frogoffering a range of campsites, cabins, and chalets to choose from.
EAT - LumberJack Bar and Café in Owaka is open for both lunch and dinner, check their website for opening hours.