One of the best things you can do in New Zealand is just simply drive somewhere a few hours away. This is especially true if you have your own wheels (though the bus rides are lovely too), and especially true on South Island (especially on the west coast).
The scenery’s gorgeous throughout the country, but a few roads in particular which stick out in my memory are the road linking Queenstown to Wanaka over the Crown Range, the road to Milford Sound from Te Anau, and that jaw-dropping section of Highway 6 down the west coast of South Island which I already wrote about on one of my hiking pages here, quote:
as you drive north you have the ocean to your left and the mountains towering up immediately on your right, with the road spanning a series of rivers as they drop down from the Alps through spectacular valleys, canyons which quickly open and close their jaws to you as you drive past
Instead of writing any more about it, as I recently finished scanning the rest of my old analogue photos here’s a bunch of pics of NZ’s stunning scenery as seen on various road trips I took there. They’re scanned from faded old hard copies and were taken on a shitty old camera by a rank amateur, so the quality sucks; but the scenery speaks for itself and these pics should give you an idea of just how epic it is.
View of the Queenstown area from the Crown Range road:
The only pic I actually have from the west coast road is this one (which doesn’t include the full drama of the mountains but is still very pretty):
Franz Josef Glacier (not visible from Highway 6, but a short detour off it):
Milford Sound Highway from Te Anau to Milford Sound:
And a few pics of Milford Sound itself, swapping the road for the sea (our boat was accompanied by a pod of bottlenose dolphins):
Another cracking drive is the road between Greymouth and Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass – I did this one too (on a public bus) but failed to take any pictures.
Thinking of heading to New Zealand? It really is one of the best places I’ve been – stop thinking and get it booked! Check out my main New Zealand page here