The Southern Scenic Road or Road 99 is the southernmost road you can take in New Zealand. The landscapes are absolutely stunning and you'll reach the most southern point of this country. In front of you is nothing more than the wide sea and far, far away is the south pole.
After our stay in the Otago area, visiting Dunedin and Otago Peninsula (see previous locations) we took the road again to the south. And not only the south in general, but we wanted to reach the southernmost part of New Zealand.
The first part of the travel wasn’t so interesting, the way from Dunedin to Balclutha is composed of only a wide plain with no specific charm. But after Balclutha, we took a left to a place named “Kaka Point” which marks the beginning of the “Southern Scenic Road”.
Our first stop was the “Nugget Point”, sort of a little peninsula which offers a spectacular viewpoint. Stopping to park, you need to make a short walk (around 30 minutes) to reach the lighthouse and viewpoint of the Nugget Point. The more you walk, the more impressive is the view and when you finally reach the place…wow! We just stayed speechless for a long time as this place is simply stunning.
After this first stunning stop, we went back on the road following the southern scenic road. Our next stop was the very sweet little village of Pounawea on Surat Bay. We had a nice walk along the bay, breathing in some fresh and pure air.
Leaving this place, the road leads you a bit away from the coast to enter the area of “Catlins National Park”. This area of forest and mountains offers a very different atmosphere of the previous places along the coast and is famous for some of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand. You have a lot of places where you can stop, park your car, and have a walk inside the forest and see the waterfalls. We chose to go and see the Purakaunui Waterfalls – the most visited of the Catlins.
Even if you’re not the sporty type, the walks aren’t strenuous as all the paths are marked and in a good state, so you need not have any heavy hiking equipment to enjoy the forest and the waterfalls. In New Zealand, it’s always very easy to reach the places you want to see and there’s no interdiction at all to get to the natural wonders that you want to see. One of the advantages of going here during July (wintertime) is that there are very few tourists and you can have the beauty of nature all to yourself only the sheep are around you – and everywhere!
Back in the car, we finally reached one of the most southern points of New Zealand located at the Brothers Point: the south of the south, almost the end of the world, as if you want to go more south than that, you’ll reach the south pole. What an impressive sensation to reach this place!
After that, we arrived in the area of Invercargill, the most important city of the southland. We just went there for the night, as the city does not have much things to offer, and our main goal was to reach the Fjordland on the south west part of the island. So, after a good night’s sleep, we took off again following the Road 99 until it’s end and before entering the Fjordland.
The end of Road 99 is located in the little town of Tuatapere, which has the strange title of “New Zealand’s Sausage Capital” so we bought some sausages, but perhaps as we have both German origins – we weren’t so impressed by the taste of these. Anyway, the end of Road 99 marked the end of this amazing trip in the southland before entering the Fjorldland for some new amazing discoveries
To be continued…