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McCracken’s Rest, Southland

McCracken’s Rest, Southland

I love a good road-side viewpoint. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to walk anywhere – to open your car door and be greeted with a view you would have walked hours to see. McCracken’s Rest, on the southern coast, is one such place. From the small wooden viewing platform you get sweeping views of Te Wae Wae Bay and the Takitimu Mountains – If you only have time for one quick stop when driving this way, McCracken’s Rest should be it.

Where is McCracken’s Rest?

McCracken’s Rest is towards the end of Te Wae Wae Bay, on the Southern Scenic route. If you find yourself in this part of New Zealand it’s likely you’re driving between Invercargill and Tuatapere / Te Anau / Queenstown. It’s a nice bit of coastline and there are several places to visit that don’t require much time or effort, including Gemstone Beach, Monkey Island and Cosy Nook.

McCracken’s Rest

McCracken’s Rest is basically just a carpark with a viewing platform – you could see everything it has to offer in a minute if you had to. The views are awesome though – beautiful coastal vistas in both directions with some background mountains thrown in for good measure.

I’m struggling to think of much more to say about McCracken’s Rest, except that you should definitely stop there. There aren’t many places on this stretch of road where you can just pull over and see a good view of the ocean, so take advantage of it when you can.

Te Wae Wae Bay / Lagoon

Te Wae Wae Bay is long stretch of coastline and there are a few places to stop and admire the views. Gemstone Beach and Monkey Island are the obvious places, but we also did a bit of exploring around Te Wae Wae Lagoon and saw some nice views. Te Wae Wae Bay is close to Tuatapere, which is home to the Humpridge Track (a Great Walk). It’s also close to Lake Hauroko, where you’ll find an awesome (and pretty off the beaten path) hike to a viewpoint.

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.