The port of Bluff is the gateway to Stewart Island, and home of Bluff oysters – reputed to be the best in the world. The oyster season runs from March to August, and in May the locals put on a lively festival to honour Ostrea chilensis (that’s Latin for Bluff oyster).
As the oldest European settlement in New Zealand, Bluff has a rich and varied history. Check out the maritime museum for exhibits that focus on whaling, oystering, and shipwrecks.
Greenpoint Domain offers a coastal walking track, and from the picnic area, a viewing platform overlooks a ship graveyard. The Bluff Hill/Motupohue(opens in new window) area provides visitors to the area with spectacular views over Foveaux Strait and the Southland Plains, a well-established track network, mountain bike track, car park and interpretation panels. Take a photo with the signpost at Stirling Point; located at the end of State Highway 1 (which runs the full length of the country), it indicates the distance to the South Pole and other parts of the world.
Bluff is home to a large shipping port with which is mainly commercial but includes the occasional cruise ship and naturally several fishing boats. You must call into any of the local establishments for fresh seafood – you simply can’t go wrong! Walk the streets to find galleries and large colourful murals throughout the town, as well as some meaningful monuments, this charming vintage town is full of surprises.
From Bluff, you can catch a ferry to Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park, a journey that takes about an hour.