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Be sure to take Route One from Invercargill to Bluff (30kms) where Route One ends. Home of the world re-known Bluff Oyster and the annual Bluff Oyster Festival. This was the first European town in the country. Still just a small community of fishermen. It is where you go to catch a boat over to Stewart Island 24 kms south.
Be sure to go on out to Stirling Point at the end of the road. The place to stay while in Invercargill is the Lorneville Holiday Park, 352 Lorne Dacre Road. Check out the website: www.ronlaughlin.net/lorneville.html
This is the chance to take a boat or flight to Stewart Island.
Have a look at the following websites:
Then return to Invercargill and turn west on Route 99 toward Riverton (30kms) where you stay the night. A favourite town in the south and a place to try to find time to hang out here a few days.
You leave Invercargill north on Route One. Eight km turn left on Route 99 passing through Wallacetown crossing the Oreti River heading for Riverton. Recommended stopover spot at the Globe Backpackers. Plenty of room, great showers fabulous hosts and the best pizza in New Zealand.
It is a small fishing village with some great pubs. If you are in to seeing paua shell jewellery be sure to stop and see the Riverton Paua Shoppe and for a top cafe and good coffee stop, on your way out to "The Rocks" for sightseeing, stop at the Beach House Cafe. The Rocks area is a beautiful place to have a real look at the area. Just drive on past the Beach House along the coast until the road ends at the Rocks.
Perhaps one might not be going to the Milford Sound, though it is considered the top spot in New Zealand to visit, so return to Route 6 and go straight north to Queenstown. Go north on the back roads from Riverton through Otautau (great reserve there just before town), Nightcaps and Mossburn for variety. This way pass by the Aparima River where it seems half the town is out whitebaiting during season.
Even if you do go that route take time to go just 9kms out of Riverton on Route 99 to Colac Bay. Take the signed turn to the left just a few minutes and you will be at one of the most stunning and beautiful beaches in the country. Well known locally by surfers. There are two places to stop off one at the end of the bay road where parking is available and the other is on the right about midway along at the Pavilion Cafe. A couple of places for overnight just ask for Julie. Great food and decent prices plus a small store catering to visitors and locals. Ice cream too. So have a look it's worth it.
Not too far past Colac Bay is a turnoff to the ocean at Monkey Island. Fabulous place to stay overnight. Most of the time the beach that goes on for kilometres is your alone. (Probably not now that I have revealed this off-road idyllic place.)
A pleasant drive to Orepuke 29 kms and then continue north for 18 kilometres to the town of Tuatapere, the sausage capital of New Zealand. Great butcher shop there to buy some of their choice sausages.
It is now north on Route 99 to Manapouri (87kms), Te Anau (+21kms) and the road to Milford Sound. (100kms to Homer Tunnel plus 16kms to Milford Sound. A one way road.) All of it awesome scenery.
Take your time and stay the night before a morning trip to Milford Sound so you can enjoy the entire day there. Time the departure after the bulk of scenic buses come through. The top way to see and enjoy this area is to stay at the Great Views Holiday Park on the Milford Road just 1.2 kms out of Te Anau. Reason being the place is exactly as it is named with a great view but on top of that they provide bikes, kayaks, hot tubs, taxi to town, and all the finest in conveniences plus they have a bus excursion to Milford so you don’t have to drive yourself. That is a real bonus. Check out their website at: www.ronlaughlin.net/teanaupark.htm.
The traveler about to undertake one of the most exciting and dramatic drives in New Zealand. There are so many sights you will want to constantly stop and take photos of. Remember there are a lot of tourist buses coming and going so pay strict attention on the narrow roads. Homer Tunnel is now lighted so it isn't as daunting as it once was but you will still feel rather close to passing vehicles during the drive through. What a scene when you get through. Be sure to stop and look back and try to capture a photo of the next winding bit of road below you going on to Milford.
You have to take a boat ride out into the Sounds. It is then you really get the true perspective of the area in size and dimension. When you get outside the Sounds in the ocean and look back you have to admire Capt. Cook in his sailing ship and wonder how he was able to find the entrance and then have the audacity to go in.
The town of Te Anau provides some fine pubs and restaurants and shopping. A walk along the lake makes for time well spent. Several possibilities are available for boating or even seaplane flights.