Southland, South Island

including the Catlins, Invercargill and Stewart Island

Invercargill, Southland family accommodation

Bluff, Southland

Southland family accommodation

Invercargill, Southland family accommodation

Invercargill, Southland family accommodation

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Welcome to Invercargill and Southland

Invercargill

It’s both the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand as well as being one of the southernmost settlements in the world! The local beach, Oreti, is just a few kilometres from the town centre, while Bluff – closest settlement to the South Island’s southern most point, is just 19km away. Invercargill was home to Burt Munro, known as the World’s Fastest Indian and immortalised by Anthony Hopkins in the movie, shot on location in Invercargill. The local beach, Oreti, was Munro’s actual training ground, prior to breaking the world land speed record for an under 1000cc motorcycle, in the States, in 1967.

Southern Scenic Route

This coastal highway takes you from Dunedin on the east coast, down to the south coast and up to Te Anau in Fiordland. Attractions in between include the Catlins, nestled in NZ’s south east corner. This region is famous for its abundant wildlife, rainforest, wild beaches and cave formations, plus the 160 million year old fossilised forest at Curio Bay. While the Southern Scenic Route is now entirely tar sealed, many of the walks and attractions along the way will take you down gravel and unsealed roads.

Stewart Island

Only an hour’s ferry ride from Bluff or a half hour small plane flight, brings you to one of the world’s truly hidden paradises. With bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and densely forested hills, Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of landscapes. The island boasts a miniscule population of just over 500 people, making it one of most sparsely populated islands in the world. Its subsequent solitude has ensured its status as a haven for rare NZ birds. These include the Tui, Parakeet, Kaka, Bell bird, Robin, Dotterel, Fern bird and of course New Zealand's adorable treasure, the Kiwi. Other wildlife includes little blue Penguins, Deer and Possums. Read more here.

Bluff

Just 25 minutes from Invercargill is its port, Bluff. It’s New Zealand's oldest European town, settled in 1824. While in Bluff, indulge in one of New Zealand's most renowned delicacies, the Bluff Oyster. Another point of interest is Bluff's Paua house. Take in classic kiwiana garden decorations on the front lawn and then wander inside to experience a house devoted to the sea delicacy. To complete your experience, take in the panoramic views at Stirling Point, the southernmost point of the South Island.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Queenstown
  • Northland
  • Wanaka
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Fiordland
  • Taupo
  • Coromandel
  • North Canterbury
  • Gisborne
  • South Canterbury
  • Waikato
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Southland
  • Rotorua
  • Central Otago
  • Taranaki
  • Dunedin
  • West Coast
  • Bay of Islands
  • Whangarei
  • Tauranga
  • Central Plateau
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Kapati
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Invercargill
  • Stewart Island
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.