The Most Beautiful Road in the World

Visit Gordon at Camera Labs!

Among other very nice local people I have met here in the Queenstown area is Gordon Liang from Camera Labs. Be sure to pop over to his site to check out some of his reviews. He’s a very nice guy and our families had breakfast together here… after talking about all his testing, he gave me some serious camera-envy!

Daily Photo – The Most Beautiful Road in the World

I found it!

I’ve looked at travel guides and driven on a ton of beautiful, scenic roads all over the world, but I think this road to Queenstown (on the way to/from Glenorchy) is the most beautiful in the world. The road winds down one side of a perfect, fjord-like lake, and every few kilometers, the mountain views change dramatically. Depending upon the time of day you travel it, the entire landscape transforms before your eyes.

Wonder what it looks like on the other side of the lake? You won’t believe that it is in the same place! See this photo called “Mountainstorm” that I took on a previous trip to this location. It was shot later in the evening, so I wasn’t able to properly capture the road that time.

What’s the prettiest road you have ever found? I’ve seen conflicting guides of the most beautiful roads in the US… I’m sure everyone has their opinion… I’d love to know what you think!

HDR Photo

The Most Beautiful Road in the World

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length44mm (44mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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  • casusan

    Oh wow – this is so beutiful Trey – reminds me a little of Alaska where the mountains come right out of the water – spectacular view you’ve captured here!

  • http://www.kelleybard.com Kelley Bard

    gorgeous! love the photo! On your question… in the US, there are tons of roads that are beautiful, but either the PCH in California (through Big Sur, of course) or Hwy 50 through Nevada (loneliest highway in America). Some of the roads in New Mexico, through the high plains, also win big with me. Looking forward to hearing others thoughts, and I wish I had much to talk about in other parts of the world. Although driving ANYWHERE in Ireland was gorgeous…

  • http://www.dancarrphotography.com/blog Dan Carr

    Trey I’m so glad you also found this road. I shot some of my favorite landscape shots ever from the pull off on the side of the road, probably right where you are standing.

  • http://www.waitingforvisas.com Nick

    This is definitely up there in my top 5 although New Zealand has so many other contenders like this other road to Queenstown http://www.waitingforvisas.com/?p=216 or one of your other favourites, the road to Milford http://www.waitingforvisas.com/?p=216

    Aside from New Zealand, the Road to Tibet via Shangri La may top even those although I haven’t processed those shots yet as I’m still on the road with over 40,000 pictures to catch up on…i’m sure you of all people know what that’s like – even after reading your workflow ebook I’m still in a bit of a mess with only a 160gb macbook pro with me to keep on top of things.

  • Simon Morris

    Stunning photo Trey… in fact, you’re spoilt for choice with scenes like this on the South Island.
    Gordan’s Camera Labs website is excellent… the reviews he puts out are so well informed without the gobbledegook of other review websites.
    What’s my prettiest road… c’mon Trey, that’s almost bad as saying who’s the prettiest woman in the world ;) If I had to name a particular road though it would have to be the Stelvio Pass in Italy… quite simply stunning… then again there’s the Col de Turini in France… and also the Transfagarasan in Romania… and don’t forget the…
    Keep rolling those photos :)

  • phi-D

    Indeed, South Island is so gorgeous, isn’t it? :P

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    hehe thanks all —

    Simon – good suggestions there – they are on my list now! :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/servalpepbase Servalpe

    Wow … what a fantastic place and stunning atmosphere that you have captured and processed. I fell in love with NZ when I saw the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ saga. I think that this is one of the reasons that you have had to set your new residency there. I think that NZ has amazing and so different landscapes concentrated in a small area. So keep on shooting and sharing these amazing sites with us.

    Nice longweekend,

    Sergio

  • Alex

    The prettiest road i’ve ever been to is most probably the atlanterhavsveien in norway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanterhavsveien

    :D

  • http://michaeltissington.com Michael Tissington

    this looks amost identical to a road in Scotland near Skye, the road to Stromferry.

  • http://JapanDave.com David LaSpina / JapanDave

    Great shot! You gotta stop with the NZ photos, Trey. My wife is already in love with the place and wants to move there — you aren’t helping by taking all these beautiful shots for her to see!! :) (joking, of course. Please keep them coming)

    Most beautiful road I’ve seen…. hmm… Well, none in Indiana or Japan, I can tell you that much.

  • lucky henry

    JapanDave – What? Some of the prettiest roads I’ve seen are in northern Honshu! In fact, quite similar to New Zealand with the mountains and coastline in such close proximity.

  • Michele

    Agreed – the Glenorchy Road is something. I also like the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, as well as the road from Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE to Khasab in the Upper Musandam which is part of Oman.

  • Zak

    I cant really speak for the rest of the world cos I have hardly travelled outside NZ much, but for me my favourite roads are the road to Milford Sound, road through Mt Aspiring National Park, and the desert road in winter (Tongariro National Park).

    Labelling the Glenorchy-Queenstown road the most beautiful in the world makes me wonder whether its worth travelling elsewhere!

  • http://karljames.wordpress.com Karl

    I haven’t seen as much of the world as you have, but I’ve got to say that the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies is the most beautiful I’ve been on.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Great suggestions for roads! This is all good stuff – thanks – keep ‘em comin ! :)

  • http://www.fastchicken.co.nz/ Nic Wise

    @Servalpe – they shot some of Lord of the Rings in Glenorchy, and a lot of it around that area (tho mostly with helicopter access only)

    Nice shot. Rather glad we are heading home (NZ) in a month or so….

  • Eden Brackstone

    I love that road to Glenorchy, although I don’t get down there nearly as often as I’d like.
    Look forward to seeing the HDRs we shot at Gibbston & any other stuff you have from the area :-)

  • http://www.exigedesign.com Codie Westphall

    Fantastic road it is. I love to see everyones take on how to shoot that amazing stretch of scenery.

    This is how I shot the same piece a few months back;

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/codie/4861037363/

  • Dad’s Dad

    Boom-Several come to mind. Wish you had HDR on some of our trips. Remember the dead end road in the Alps coming from Brarritz back to Toulouse. The road from Monte Carlo back throough the mountains to meet Lee Underwood. Road to Ez in Monte Carlo. And my favorite, coming from the Swiss tunnel to Lake Como.

  • Gail in Montana

    Oh my gosh, Trey, this has to be the most beautiful road in the whole world!!! I not only saved it in My Pictures, but put it on my desktop, too. I took my Halloween picture off a wee bit early, but who cares, lol. Glad you found this “Most Beautiful Road” !!!!! Thanks for sharing :-) :-)

  • http://www.thedphoto.com/ Diana Eftaiha

    wow it is beautiful indeed.

  • http://www.behindmyeyes.me Jim Denham

    What an amazing scene Trey! Would love to take a ride down that road!

  • Heidi

    The Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park. But this one looks pretty freaking awesome…

  • http://www.michaellewisglover.com Michael Glover

    Dude, that shot is fantastic! What a view that must have been driving on that road. One of my favorite roads in the US would have to be the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also Highway 441 through the Smoky Mountains. Love the New Zealand shots. Keep ‘em coming!

  • Rasekh

    wow! stunning drive! my favourite drive is the Icefields Parkway connecting Banff NP and Jasper NP in Alberta Canada…230km of mountains, glaciers, lakes waterfalls and wildlife…you gotta try it sometime!

  • http://crowemedia.com Jordan

    I personally love Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail, it runs through Cape Breton Highlands National Park and winds up and down the mountains through both the interior and on the coastline. At nearly 200 miles long, every inch of this trail is worth seeing. It covers a wide variety of looks and is often the home to some intense rolling fog visibly moving between the peaks.

    View of the road from the Skyline Trail hike: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcrowe/5128094969/lightbox/
    Rolling Clouds : http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcrowe/5128108629/lightbox/
    View from one of many look-offs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcrowe/5080546372/in/photostream/lightbox/

    If you are ever in Nova Scotia, be sure to check it out!

  • Cathy Wright

    This is fabulous, from up close right out to the snow capped mountain peaks.
    For the U.S., my favorite drive is the Bear Tooth Loop, about 15 miles long.
    Every turn is different, an alpine lake, a snow ledge barely hanging on, the ability
    to drive slooowwly, because everybody else is too. It goes out of the Northeastern corner
    of Yellowstone up and over and down into Red Lodge, Montana. Hit it at the right time of sunset, all the peaks are shimmered in gold.

  • http://timetotakepictures.blogspot.com/ Keith

    The needles highway in South Dakota is a beautiful road. Rock spires, tunnels and switchbacks make it a really great drive! I wish I had known about HDR the last time I was there…

  • http://www.hd-art.co.uk Alasdair Macleod

    Trey, this is brilliant! Great job! Do you have any tutorials specific for Landscapes? I can never get them to look any where near this good.

  • andrei caj

    @Simon Morris
    Indeed, the Transfagarasan is THE most breathtaking road in the world, although it’s closed for most of the year – it just makes it more special. And I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m romanian (… well maybe a little)

  • Pingback: The Most Beautiful Road in the World « corridor 2Five()

  • James

    That road does look incredible, I’m so sorry I missed it when I was there.
    I have to second what Zak said, the road between Te Anau and Milford Sound is my favorite road in the world.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all!

    James – I am taking that road in a few days… that will be cool too.

    Alasdair – yes – describe pretty much everything in my hdr tutorial at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/hdr-tutorial/

  • James

    Trey – I really hope you post some shots from Te Anau – Milford Sound, I’d love to see what you come up with from there!

  • http://www.ianbrodiephoto.net Ian Brodie

    No doubt in my mind either Trey. This IS the most beautiful scenic drive in the world!

  • http://www.jlphoto.co.nz Jason Law

    its an amazing place in the world.. I think one of the best driving roads in is Italy.. Stelvio pass.. Amazing..
    Its such a gorgeous part of the world here.. so secluded.. and best thing is you can drive that road to gelnorchy and never see
    another soul some parts of the year!!!!..

  • http://www.hd-art.co.uk Alasdair MacLeod

    Hey Trey, Thanks for the link. I have previously been through that tutorial (a number of times). I was actually looking for something more composition specific. I suspect this is something that will just come with time. I found quite a few usefull vids on your youtube chan ( http://www.youtube.com/user/stuckincustoms#p/u )relating to composition of HDR images. Keep up the good work dude :)

  • http://www.stereoimage.co.nz Chris Gee

    Hi Trey. While your in the Central Otago area you should pop over to Lake Wanaka, where you will find The Most Lonely Tree in the World! Let me know if you need precise directions to it :)

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=121148904602988&set=a.121148657936346.25066.120904894627389

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=137861236265088&set=a.121148657936346.25066.120904894627389

    Cheers

    Chris Gee

  • Henry

    The prettiest road I know is Utah rt 12, goes from just outside of Bryce Cayon National Park (which is just north of Zion National Park) through the Esclante canyons area to Capitol Reef National Park. At one point, the road covers the entire crest of a ridge between two canyons, dropping off vertically with no shoulder or guard rail–its stright out of a road runner cartoon! The whole stretch would be a National Park if it was somewhere else.

  • Andre

    That is absolutely gorgeous!!! I have been down that road before and I can honestly saw it’s probably the most beautiful road in the world!

  • Donna M.

    While visiting Vancouver Island, I was told that the West Coast Road (Highway 14) from Victoria to Port Renfrew was exceptionally beautiful. So I drove it, but it was foggy that day and all I saw was fog. Oh well!

  • Gerard

    I travelled that road before i got into photography and i remember thinking how photographic it would be. you just proved it.
    the most beautiful road in the world for me would have to be the Atlantic road (Atlanterhavsveien) in Norway, between Kristiansund and Molde.

  • Rimmer

    Fantastic shot.

  • Brad Denny

    Most beautiful Rd in the US to me is highway 70 through Colorado. You see almost every landscape this country has.

  • http://kirantarun.com/lens Kiran

    OMG! The scenery is simply breathtaking!

  • kathleen

    WOW…I would have to agree…this is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://vickiwilsonphotos.wordpress.com Vicki Wilson

    Very nice landscape! I love the Blue Ridge Parkway traveling through North Carolina, USA. Lots of beautiful scenic views on that road.

  • Simon Morris

    Trey, it’s good to hear you’ll be venturing along the Te Anau to Milford Sound road again… plenty more stunnings images to look forward to!
    You’ll probably remember from your last visit just how gorgeous that road is… I can guarantee you’ll be wanting to stop almost every 500 metres, so how disciplined are you? ;)

  • http://www.fenglongphoto.com/ Zachary Long

    My favorite in the US is California Highway 1 through Big Sur, similar vistas as this one with the road right alongside the ocean.

  • http://www.picturiapress.com Suzzanne

    Wow! That is incredible!

  • http://www.thephotojourney.com Scott

    You have to get yourself Down Under some time Trey and check out the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. An amazing tribute to our War hero’s with some amazing views along the coastline. Plus its the home of the 12 Apostles

  • http://Takethat,M Michael A. Longanecker

    Great pix!. My favorite shoot is anywhere in the Columbia Gorge, especially the Old Columbia River Highway by Multnomah Falls, east of Portland, Oregon.

  • http://open-window.typepad.com Claudia

    Your best!

  • Sam

    Hana Highway on the island of Maui. I couldn’t imagine how much better if you would have taken this picture rather than I :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/qsopht/497312828/in/set-72157600031785312/

  • Azita

    @Dad’s Dad just a correction….from Biarritz to Toulouse you might go through the Pyrennees (southwest of France). The Alps are on the eastern part of France!

  • http://richardvanw.tumblr.com Richard van Wayenburg

    THe whole Queenstown area is amazing… you could drop your camera down the hill and still get good photos :) well maybe not. Heres my favourite Road is the one that wriggles its way up to the Treble Cone ski field in Wanaka:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7dylNY1O5uXXiSJJj2dS1w?feat=directlink

  • http://macvaysia.com Jordan

    I was going to leave a comment suggesting the Cabot Trail as one of the most beautiful roads in the world, but someone beat me to it…someone with the same first name, no less. Great minds think alike!

  • http://www.travel-wonders.com Mark H

    Two raods that take some topping include the fjord roads in Norway (there are several but Atlanterhavsveien is special) and the superb Grossglockner Road in central Austria.

  • Alejandra

    It is the most beautiful road I have seen. After a 20+ hour flight from NY I arrived in Queenstown and took this drive. It was love at first sight.

  • John

    Romatic Rd in Germany is pretty spectacular. Just wish I had an interest in photography back then.

    I found Great ocean road was pretty underwhelming until you get to the 12 Apostles.

    In NZ there are some nice spots along the Pacific Coast Highway (Anaura Bay).

  • http://www.dailytvserials.com/ Indian TV Serials

    i have been reading on the biggest roads of the world and i am very happy that i have founded many beautiful roads from your blog and the your site. this is a amusing collections of huge roads that i have been never seen. so sir please keep it up. have a nice day.

  • faisal shabbir

    this is a very good info of world road good keep it up.

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