French Pass Road

French Pass, one of the most scenic roads in NZ

French Pass Road is an amazing journey to the north end of the South Island of New Zealand. The drive is definitely worth it. A drive not to be missed! Overseas visitors rate it the most scenic drive in the country surpassing Milford and Queenstown.

The road is 38km long. It includes paved and unpaved sections and links Okiwi Bay and Te Aumiti / French Pas, a narrow and treacherous stretch of water that separates D'Urville Island, at the, from the mainland coast. The drive is spectacular. The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners and steep grades.  The road is well maintained, it remains a true ‘kiwi’ road, gravel in most places, with one lane bridges, and sheers drops alternating between the east and west.  Sheep and cattle roam freely over the hillsides, and cattle stops (and gates) are frequent. You will quickly secure all drawers and loose items after passing over your first cattle stop.

This narrow and winding road was built in 1957. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don't forget your camera with lots of film/memory, fully charged batteries and an empty memory card! The road is partially unsealed but in good condition and takes the traveler through forest, farmland and on to breathtaking sea views of the French Pass and d’Urville Island.


NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.