Southland offers rugged scenery, native wildlife, motoring history and stand out local produce. Check out the top 8 experiences in Southland.
Take a ride to the past at Experience Mandeville, one of the treasures of Southland. Explore the museum of heritage aircraft from the 1920s and 1930s, stop by Money for Wine and Miss Cocoa Coffee Cafe for a spot of shopping and something to drink before topping it all off with a flight in a vintage Tiger Moth.
Visit Bluff, one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand, and experience the world’s best seafood. Bluff is particularly famous for its Oysters that are slowly grown in the pristine waters of the Foveaux Strait, Oyster Cove Cafe and Land's End Hotel are the places to savour the finest Oysters Bluff has to offer.
Alongside the welcoming locals you will find a plethora of fantastic local produce. Try the local range of beers from the Invercargill Brewery, or savour some amazing sweet treats from the Seriously Good Chocolate Company, accompany that with the cheeses from Blue River Dairy and your taste buds will thank you!
Take a thrilling Jetboat ride across New Zealand’s deepest lake, Lake Hauroko and down the Wairaurahiri River to the southern coast. The journey drops 200 metres in 27 kilometers through grade 3 white water rapids along the full length of the river - you can take on the adventure with Wairaurahiri Jet or Hump Ridge Jet.
Everything motoring can be found in Invercargill, and it isn't just for vehicle enthusiasts. The Bill Richardson Transport World is home to 250 vehicles ranging from Kombi vans, Henry Ford letter cars, Model T's as well as childrens play areas and themed bathrooms and the E. Hayes Motorworks is a store and museum home to all sorts of motoring related items from motorcycles, automobiles and engines to the stand out item - Burt Munro's legendary record breaking "World's Fastest Indian".
Discover the stunning surounds of the Southland region by bicycle. Take one of the Great Rides with the Around the Mountains and ride through alpine landscapes, historic towns, past farmland and lakes, make sure to enjoy the local hospitality along the ride, as you stop for delicious meals and local stories. For an off road cycling adventure take the Welcome Rock Trail, set on private land in the high country the views are stunning and the water is so pristine you can drink straight from the creeks.
Stewart Island boasts over 240 km of walking tracks, from short walks to week long adventures you can explore the beaches and rainforests at your own pace, and as the island is also home to New Zealand's largest and most diverse bird population, you can try and spot kaka, albatross, penguins, weka and even kiwis as you walk! There are a range of tour companies that can show you the hidden gems of the island including Real Journeys, Ulva’s Guided Walks, Ruggedy Range, Beaks and Feathers.
The wildlife and scenery of The Catlins offers a variety of experiences to satisify any nature lover. Visit Nugget Point to see fur seals, seal lions and elephant seals - the only place in New Zealand where all 3 species can be seen together, or a jurassic forest as well as Hectors Dolphins and yellow eyed penguins, take to a walking track and journey through podocarp forests, along stunning coastlines, past lakes and the visit some of the most photographed waterfalls: McLean Falls and Purakaunui Falls. You can enjoy a personalised tour with Catlins Wildlife Trackers.