Southland, South Island
including the Catlins, Invercargill and Stewart Island
Welcome to Invercargill and Southland
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.
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.
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.