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Driving New Zealand's South Island

Matakauri Lodge, outside Queenstown, which overlooks Lake Wakatipu.

Photo: Courtesy of Matakauri Lodge

Day 3: Queenstown to Te Anau (110 miles)

After a final alfresco breakfast on Matakauri’s terrace—basking in the views of the aptly named Remarkables Mountains—drive back into Queenstown and hug Lake Wakatipu as it veers south. The road will lead you past farming communities such as Mossburn, New Zealand’s “deer capital” and a source of much of the venison you’ll find on your plate, before reaching Te Anau. This is the start of the Southern Scenic Route (southernscenicroute.co.nz), one of New Zealand’s greatest, though least-known, drives, traversing a sparsely populated wonderland of forests, lakes, waterfalls, and wild coastlines. Fjords figure here, too; New Zealand is one of a handful of places blessed with the narrow inlets. Check in to the rustic-modern Fiordland Lodge (doubles from $520), owned by a veteran park ranger and designed to take advantage of the views. A three-course dinner is included in the rate.

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