Southland rates highly as emerging destination
10 Dec 2008
Southland's wild and sparsely populated landscapes have been highly rated by Australian magazine Travel + Leisure in a new top 20 emerging destinations.
New Zealand's most southern region deserved to be listed alongside other exotic locations such as Pranburi in Thailand, Mazatlan on the Pacific Coast in Mexico, and Paphos in Cyprus, according to Travel + Leisure editor Anthony Dennis.
Tourists to New Zealand are usually familiar with the attractions offered by the most famous southern destinations - adventure capital Queenstown and iconic Milford Sound - but nearby Southland has a much lower profile.
While Southland was being touted as New Zealand's 'next big thing' its remoteness would ensure that its relative obscurity would remain undisturbed for some time, Mr Dennis said.
"Yet this spectacular, sparsely populated natural wonderland encompasses under-visited attractions such as the World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park, the Catlins and the Southern Scenic Route, while for the more adventurous there's Stewart Island."
Southland's pristine forests, waterfalls, lakes and rugged coastlines, dotted with lonely lighthouses, and opportunities to view rare and endangered wildlife drew special mention.
Recommended activities included viewing the yellow-eye penguins in their beachside habitat from hideaways at Nugget Point in the Catlins, Curio Bay's petrified waters-edge forest of 160-million-year-old logs, and swimming in safe and sheltered beaches like Dolphin Bay during the extra long southern daylight hours.
The Southern Scenic Route - beginning in Te Anau or Queenstown, and passing through Fiordland and Southland - was "one of the world's great undiscovered drives," Mr Dennis said.
Mr Dennis also praised 'southern hospitality' including Fiordland Lodge (Te Anau), Tikana Lodge (Winton) and Dunedin's Mandeno House.
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