Untouched Southland is known for its rare and unique wildlife and extensive national parks - you can expect tuatara, dolphins, whales and more.

Head to the Catlins to encounter some of the world's rarest wildlife - home to the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, Hookers Sea Lion, Hector's Dolphin (the smallest in the world), the Catlins offers the opportunity to see these magnificent animals up close in the wild whilst exploring lush rainforests, waterfalls, deserted beaches and massive caves. 

If you're a bird watcher, you'll be able to see Albatross, petrels and turns (as well as many other bird species) in Southland. Head to Stewart Island to view our national icon – the kiwi in the wild and be amazed by the predator-free Ulva Island where birdlife is abundant.

A horse trek is a great way to explore the region, or if you would like to see live tuatara - known as 'living dinosaurs' - head to Queens Park in Invercargill. The only beak-headed reptile in the world, tuatara can live for over 100 years and are fascinating reptiles to experience close-up - especially 116-year-old Henry. Whilst you are here be sure to wander through the animal farm and bird aviary which is part of Queens Park.

Southland is also home to the kakapo, the rare parrot voted as the world's most-loved species. Sirocco the kakapo is Southland's official conservation ambassador and the cheeky star of a Stephen Fry documentary.

If you're still after more, go trout fishing in one of the many pristine streams around gore or catch a glimpse of a Takahe in Te Anau, find out about the fascinating Mutton-birding traditions of local Maori in Bluff, or try and spot a whale off the coast of Western Southland.

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