It’s no secret that driving in New Zealand is both scary and amazing. The scenery along pretty much every highway is so jaw dropping that it can be hard to keep your eyes on the road! To be honest I could pretty much write a post about beautiful drives that lists every single road in this country. Even the route we take to go to our local supermarket winds alongside the insanely blue Lake Wakitipu with views across towards the Remarkables mountain range. It’s ridiculous.
But so far in my adventures, it’s these particular drives that have stayed with me.
Coromandel Thames coast
It’s no surprise that this road was driven by Jeremy Clarkson during the Top Gear NZ special! It winds along the coast and offers great views across the bay.
The desert road takes you past some amazing middle earth sights – including Mt Doom! Explore this volcanic landscape and marvel at the hostile, but beautiful environment.
The Waikato Region (aka driving through Hobbiton)
Ok this isn’t a specific road… But anywhere you drive in the Waikato region just feels like exploring an enormous set of Hobbiton. The undulating green hills seem like nothing more than a film set!
The road that winds along the Kenepuru sound offers glimpses of the blue, sheltered ocean and beautiful green hills. If you’re lucky you might even spot some of the sound’s wildlife – dolphins call this place home!
Nelson to Tanaka
The winding road from Nelson over to the Golden Bay region climbs up and over Takaka hill, offering stunning views down towards AbleTasmann national park and across towards Kahurangi national park.
West Coast Drive
The road from Westport to Greymouth is wild, windy, and absurdly scenic. Dramatic cliffs are pounded by huge waves and the road traces the very edge of this powerful landscape.
Makarora – Wanaka
This road is especially great if you’ve just come down the west coast as it gives you your first glimpse at some of the famous lakes of the lakes region. You’re surrounded by mountains and glacial blue water – magic.
Queenstown – Glenorchy
Consistently voted the best NZ drive, this short journey packs a lot in! Winding towards the alpine town of Glenorchy you can see towards Mt Aspiring national park, spot the glacier on Mt Earnslaw and of course admire the ever-changing blues of lake Wakitipu.
Tekapo – Mt Cook
If there was ever a road designed for photo opportunities this would be it. Your entire windscreen is filled with Mt Cook and you have the bright blue of lake Pukaki (my favourite lake!) to reflect the mountains in.
The drive to the nearest town has never been so pretty, as you pass over the crown range and past the famous Cardrona ski resort. Watch this one in winter – it can get icy!
Drive the Lindis pass knowing that you’re on the highest state highway in the south island. The road follows a valley with dramamtic scenery on either side and can often be covered with snow in the winter.
Have you done any of these drives? Are there any you’d add to the list?