Southland Regional Information
Rediscover yourself in Southland. Given the luxury of time, you can encounter wild places that few have ever seen.
Southland is New Zealand's southernmost region and includes New Zealand's third island, Stewart Island.
The lush, green pastoral lands of Southland are a strong contrast to the dryness of Central Otago further north. Throughout the Southland region are a number of accessible, tranquil waterways that attract fly-fishing enthusiasts in search of brown trout.
Southland's largest urban centre is Invercargill, a city of 49,000 people. Visitors come to admire the elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, gardens and landscaped parks. As in Dunedin to the north, Invercargill was originally settled by people from Scotland.
Invercargill is built around beautiful Queens Park—80 hectares of gardens, wildlife and sporting fun. As well as an 18-hole golf course, the park has animal enclosures, a bird aviary, play areas and the Southland Museum.
A half hour drive south from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff—home to the famous Bluff oyster and the annual Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival. Once you've tasted a Bluff oyster, no other oyster will do!
From Bluff, visitors can catch a ferry to Stewart Island. The island can also be reached by air from Invercargill. Stewart Island is a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you can readily see kiwi in their natural habitat.
Stewart Island is large—64 kilometres long and 40 kilometres across—so don't expect to walk around it in a day—or even a week! It has a 700-kilometre coastline, but there are only 20 kilometres of roads! As well as kiwi, Stewart Island is home to many other native bird varieties—including kaka, tui and bellbird. Sea birds abound off-shore. albatross, petrels, cormorants, gulls and blue penguins are common. Rarer species like yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho) are also seen often.
Southland also has large areas of near-pristine rainforest, ideal for day walks and hiking. Curio Bay on the Catlins Coast is one of the geological wonders of the world. This petrified forest of subtropical kauri and other trees dates back to the Jurassic age, 135 to 190 million years ago.
Main Centres in Southland
- Invercargill - Southland's main city
- Gore - Southland's brown trout fishing centre
- Bluff - fishing port at the end of the South Island
- Riverton - small seaside town at the western end of Oreti Beach
- South Catlins - the southern portion of The Catlins
- Stewart Island - the largest Island in New Zealand aside from the North and South Islands
Useful Southland Links
To help plan your Southland holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Southland Accommodation
- Southland Tours
- Southland Attractions and Activities
- Southland Transport
- Southland Cuisine and Dining
- Southland Shopping
- Southland Visitor Information
Southland Region Information
Key information and facts about the Southland region.
Major activities and attractions in the Southland region.