During my The Ultimate NZ Road Trip: 12 Days in the South Island, I spent a couple of days on the Southern Scenic Route, stopping at as many places along the route as possible. The map below was super helpful in guiding my stops.
Following east to west (Kaka Point in the direction of Invercargill), the images below are from stops I made along this lovely drive. Everything on the map is so close together that it is very easy to drive along and stop at almost everything within the course of a single day, though even better if you can give two or more. You’ll have to choose between some of the longer day hikes to fit more of it in, but you can see a lot in a day. Catlins Travel Tip: if you really want to see Cathedral Caves, make that one of your first stops during the day, because they are only open for a short period of time near low tide (assuming sea conditions aren’t too rough either). Also, if you get an early start you can avoid some of the crowds at the more popular stops.
Driving from Kaka Point to Nugget Point Lighthouse
Florence Hill Lookout
McLean Falls (I left one photo with people in it to give a sense of how huge this waterfall was)
Curio Bay Fossil Forest
Slope Point: Southern Most Point of NZ’s South Island (beware: extremely windy! please don’t get too close to the cliffs if taking a selfie)
My attempt to take a selfie with the intense wind whipping both my hair and sweater made me genuinely laugh uncontrollably. Love moments like this.
The drive along the Southern Scenic Route is rather spectacular and worth taking your time to explore when driving through New Zealand’s South Island!