Southland Activity Highlights
Feel the wind in your hair; smell the delicious tang of salt air; amble in amber, swathed in the warmth of the sunset. Southland delivers an unforgettable fix of freedom.
Southland Activity Highlights Overview
Discover Southland's special places by following the short walks around the region.
Feast with the locals at the Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival. Experience fine wine and scrumptious seafood in an entertaining atmosphere. Enjoy the autumn colours in the region's parks and gardens. Follow the Southern Scenic Route—a three-four day touring route that unlocks the secrets of Otago and Southland.
Invercargill is New Zealand's southernmost city, and is also one of the southernmost settlements in the world. The city is set on the banks of Oreti River, and it is just a short 10-minute drive to Oreti Beach from the city.
Invercargill is home to the Southern Institute of Technology, a polytechnic offering a zero-fees scheme for students. This scheme helped rejuvenate the population in the area, which also helped raise house prices and introduced more jobs.
Invercargill is also home to the only indoor cycling velodrome in New Zealand. The 250-metre wooden velodrome is one of the fastest tracks in New Zealand.
Don't miss these Invercargill highlights:
- View New Zealand's largest collection of live tuatara (a native New Zealand lizard) in the world at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery
- Wander through the aviary, Japanese garden and rose gardens of Queens Park
- Climb the 42.5 metre high Water Tower
- Visit the Anderson Park Art Gallery—an excellent public art gallery
- Enjoy a fun family day out at the Southland Aquatic Centre - Splash Palace
Bluff - Gateway to Stewart Island
- Take a tour of Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter
- Visit Fred and Myrtle's Paua House—a house entirely decorated in abalone shell
- Join in the fun at the Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival. Bluff oysters are a true New Zealand delicacy!
- Visit the Maritime Museum for an insight into the region's fascinating maritime history
- Visit Stirling Point, the most southern mainland point in New Zealand
The Fascinating World of the Catlins
The Catlins is a place of hidden waterfalls and river valleys, rocky coastal bays, inlets and estuaries where the great Pacific Ocean bites into the land.
- Of international geological significance is Curio Bay's 180-million-year-old fossilised forest, best viewed at low tide
- Nugget Point (Tokata) is a stunning and accessible place for viewing three penguin species (including hoiho, the yellow-eyed penguin), Hooker's sea lions, Hector's dolphins, elephant seals and New Zealand fur seals
- Walk to Purakaunui Falls or do the Catlins River Walk, a five hour beech forest walk between Tawanui and the Wisp
- Hike to spectacular Cathedral Caves—accessible only at low tide
- Visit the lighthouse at Waipapa Point, scene of New Zealand's worst shipping disaster
Trout Fishing, Train Rides and More in Gore
Gore is the brown trout fishing centre of Southland—the Mataura River has the highest population and catch rates of any river in New Zealand.
- Fish the best spots on the Mataura River, and get a guide to show you the other great trout pools in the area
- Visit the Hokonui Moonshine Museum
- Take an open cockpit air flight and see restored vintage aircraft at the Croydon Aircraft Company
- Drive further north to catch the Kingston Flyer, the vintage steam train that operates on a 14 kilometre stretch of scenic track between Kingston and Fairlight
- Visit the seaside resort of Riverton, just to the west of Invercargill, one of the oldest permanently settled areas in New Zealand
- Tuatapere is the home of the Hump Ridge Track—a three-day walking experience through rugged coastline, podocarp and beech forest and spectacular sandstone outcrops
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.