Top picks for the captivating and majestic Northern Southland

Located just one hour from Queenstown along the well-travelled Southern Scenic Route, northern Southland is a "must do stop" in the South Island.

Northern Southland has always been famed for its remarkable scenery. Here you will take in sights of beautiful rolling farmland and the magical Takatimu Mountains. However more recently the area has developed to offer a unique southern experience packed with industrial heritage, great food, famous Southern hospitality, world-class brown trout fly fishing and spectacular cycle trail and mountain bike opportunities.

1) High country adventure, farm tours and alpine experiences

Beautiful high country farm stays and experiences are available throughout Northern Southland. A prime example includes the historic Nokomai Station. Nokomai Station is one of the largest high country sheep stations in the country with over 150 years of farming and gold mining history. While staying at Nokomai you can enjoy a variety of activities including trout fishing and participate in seasonal farm life like watching their collie dogs work sheep and cattle. For the more adventurous Nokomai Helicopters are onsite for local flights throughout the station and more distant scenic flights to areas including Fiordland.

2) Cycle Trail and Mountain Biking

Take in the spectacular sights of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail – New Zealand’s premier cycle trail departing from Queenstown and cycling through rural Southland. Graded at 1-2 it’s an easy journey designed to be accessible for all. Allow 3-4 days. 

Mountain biking is a recent development for the area – Welcome Rock Trails is a single track cross country mountain bike/hiking trail hand built on one of NZ’s longest historic water races. Set aside a full day to enjoy the endless views of classic high country New Zealand. Enhance this experience by overnighting in the back country huts, watch the sun retreat along the hills, soak in the outdoor bath and relax.

3) Fly Fishing

Northern Southland is the source of the internationally renowned Mataura River, so famous is the river, it is widely considered the best dry fly fishing river in the world. Dozens of top fishing spots are easily accessible, but so numerous are the waterways, chances are you’ll cast for kilometres without coming across another soul. Numerous guides and tours are available should you not want to venture out alone.

4) Quaint rural towns, great food and famous southern hospitality

Northern Southland is a great place to experience famous Southern high country hospitality. The townships of Lumsden, Athol, Garston, Mossburn and Kingston are dotted with friendly country cafes serving up fresh kiwi cuisine to visitors and locals alike while the small local shops are full of unique wares.

5) Industrial Heritage

Sprinkled amongst the busy agricultural landscape are echoes of the regions rolling past with rail, agricultural machines and architecture heralding the efforts of early Southern pioneers. Follow the Northern Southland Heritage Trail to learn more about the regions special heritage sites and history.

Some other great accommodation options include:

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