Exploring the South Island of New Zealand, is an awesome experience, and visitors will never forget the sights and sounds witnessed travelling through this amazing part of the world. When you are planning your South Island itinerary make sure you don’t forget some of the more hidden treasures that lies in the deep south of Te Waipounamu (The Waters of Greenstone).
What’s more you can plan to do many activities that don’t cost money other than your basic travel and food costs. We have selected some of the very best free things to do in Southland to help you with the planning of your trip of a lifetime.
Southland literally is the Southern most district of New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s ultimate nature and wildlife destination, with spectacular landscapes encompassing lush rainforests, sweeping coastlines and rich farmland.
Cycling the South
If you have access to cycles or you simply love cycling, then you will be spoilt for choice with the array of Southland activities which are cycle related. Even if you want to just watch competitive cyclists in action you can do so with the multiple cycling events, including the annual Tour of Southland.
There is a wealth of roads and tracks which criss-cross throughout the district. From Invercargill and Bluff to the northern tip of Southland right to Fiordland your cycling adventures will create lasting memories for years and years to come.
Art Lovers Rejoice
If art is your passion then you will find lots of fun things to do in Invercargill. One of the best Invercargill activities is The Anderson Park Art Gallery, the first public art gallery established in the city. The gallery is situated in a gracious Georgian-style residence situated in 24 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens. The Gallery is home to over 800 art works including colonial and contemporary New Zealand paintings, pottery and sculpture. If you are visiting in Spring-time make sure you visit the gallery during The Annual Spring Exhibition which features top New Zealand artists as guests.
There is nowhere in the world like Fiordland. Described as an incomparable ancient wilderness of lakes, snow capped peaks, dense rainforest and steep sided fiords. The journey alone to Milford Sound is one of the world’s ultimate alpine drives. Fiordland covers the western most third of Southland, with Milford Sound being the most famous of its fiords, although Doubtful Sound is larger.
As you travel through Fiordland you will be able to view the Browne and Sutherland Falls, Lake Hauroko, Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau. This is a region for nature lovers. With such interesting geological features and flora and fauna, you can spend days simply touring the area which is almost totally unspoilt. The area is home to threatened native bird species such as the flightless takahe (yes New Zealand has more than one flightless native bird), kiwi, blue duck and yellowhead. There are a great number of fascinating insects and even an indigenous reptile to be discovered.
All you need is to pack is your sense of adventure and away you go.
Fishing for Compliments
Are you an awesome angler? Or do you dream of being one? If you have your own fishing gear then be prepared to bliss out while you fish at one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world.
Renowned as the Brown Trout capital, Gore is definitely a magical place you will want to cast your flies at. Anglers from all around the world visit The Mataura River between October and April to pit their skills against the wily brown trout. With easy access, the most brown trout in any river of New Zealand and water so clean it is described as ‘gin-clear’, the Mataura Valley is a dry-fly mecca. A true angler’s paradise.
New Zealand’s world-renowned adventure capital, Queenstown, is a great starting point for your Southland adventure. If you’re flying in, pick up a Queenstown rental car and start exploring everything that Aotearoa’s most southern region has on offer.
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