Southland offers rugged scenery, native wildlife, motoring history and stand out local produce. Check out the top 8 experiences in Southland.
Call into roadside stalls to purchase fresh flowers, eggs and vegetables in season as you are driving through the Catlins Scenic Tours(opens in new window). Discover the nooks, crannies and geological wonders of the Western Southland coastline with GeoTours South(opens in new window), or get a feel for rural life and agriculture at one of Southland’s many stunning farmstay accommodation options.
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(opens in new window) and Land's End Hotel (opens in new window)are the places to savour the finest Oysters Bluff has to offer.
Alongside the welcoming locals you will find a plethora of fantastic local craft produce. Try the dram of Hokonui Moonshine in Gore. Savour handmade gourmet chocolates from the Seriously Good Chocolate Company.(opens in new window) See why the competition for the best pie in the region is so strong by sampling one of these hearty southern delicacies.
Take a thrilling jetboat ride across New Zealand’s deepest lake, Lake Hauroko and down the Wairaurahiri River to the southern coast with Wairaurahiri Jet(opens in new window) or Hump Ridge Jet(opens in new window). Spend a relaxing day at sea and catch your own fresh blue cod dinner with one of the many fishing charters operating off the coast of Bluff and Stewart Island.
Southland has a deep passion for all things wheeled. It all started with Burt Munro setting a world land speed record on his Indian Scout motorbike, now displayed at E. Hayes and Sons Motorworks(opens in new window). Invercargill also boasts the impressive Bill Richardson Transport World(opens in new window) (the largest private collection of its type in the world), Classic Motorcycle Mecca(opens in new window) a world class display of over 300 motorcycles and artwork and Dig This(opens in new window) - where visitors can try operating heavy machinery in a giant adult-sized sand pit.
Discover the stunning surrounds of the Southland region by bicycle. Take the Around the Mountains cycle trail(opens in new window) and ride through alpine landscapes, historic towns, and past beautiful farmland and lakes. Be sure to stop and enjoy the local hospitality along the ride to savour delicious food and local stories. For an off-road cycling adventure take the stunning Welcome Rock Trail(opens in new window), set on private land in the high country of Northern Southland..
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. The island is home to New Zealand's largest and most diverse bird population – spot wild kiwi in their natural habitat! There are a range of tour companies that can show you the hidden gems of the island including Stewart Island Experience(opens in new window), Ulva’s Guided Walks(opens in new window), Ruggedy Range(opens in new window), and Beaks and Feathers(opens in new window).
The Catlins offers a variety of experiences to satisfy any nature lover. See fur seals, sea lions and elephant seals at Nugget Point - the only place in New Zealand where all 3 can be seen together. Walk on a Jurassic forest and spot Hectors Dolphins and yellow eyed penguins at Curio Bay. Journey through podocarp forests, along stunning coastlines, to hidden lakes and breathtaking waterfalls. Enjoy a personalised tour with Catlins Scenic Tours or see the highlights with Headfirst Travel(opens in new window).
Getting around is easy with familiar road signs and a great range of transport options available.
There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget and travel style.
Visit in Spring or Autumn to enjoy warm weather, spectacular colours, lower prices & short queues.