A horrified family trailed a campervan for up to 45 minutes as it drove along the wrong side of a major South Island tourist highway.

The family watched the rented motorhome dice with death as it travelled from Curio Bay in the Catlins to Bluff on the Tokanui-Gorge Rd Highway on Sunday afternoon.

Kodi Goodman, his partner and two young children were heading back from a trip to the beach when they spotted the Maui campervan heading in the same direction but on the right-hand side of the centre line.

A front-seat passenger in the car, who did not want to be named, said they followed the vehicle for 45 minutes, keeping well back fearing there would be carnage if a vehicle came from the opposite direction.

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"We [were] especially worried that if a car came around a sharp corner there would be a terrible accident and we would have been caught up in it."

Fortunately no other cars were on the road at the time.

She said eventually there was a straight stretch of road with good visibility to safely pass the dangerous vehicle.

"Kodi sped up and yelling out got them on to the right side of the road," she said.

"He had his arm out the window and they started indicating as we went past and moved over to the left."

Goodman was stunned the campervan couple, in their 30s, moved to the left and carried on as if nothing untoward had happened.

A Southland family trailed a motorhome driving on the wrong side of the Tokanui-Gorge Rd Highway for nearly 45 minutes. Photo / Google maps
A Southland family trailed a motorhome driving on the wrong side of the Tokanui-Gorge Rd Highway for nearly 45 minutes. Photo / Google maps

The Southland couple were gobsmacked by the shocking driving.

"It was our first swim of the summer and it could have easily ended so badly," said the mum-of-two.

She said in hindsight she wonders if they should have waved down the vehicle and taken the keys from the ignition but at the time they were shocked and concerned for their own safety.

Tourism Holdings Ltd, which rented the filmed campervan, said the driver had been contacted and "reminded about safe driving in New Zealand, especially staying left", Fairfax reported.

Curio Bay to Bluff is a 104km journey along the Tokanui-Gorge Rd Highway taking about 1.5 hours.

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