Stewart Island, a short ferry ride from Southland's mainland, is an island like no other. Remote and secluded, 85% of the island forms Rakiura National Park which boasts a thriving bird population and is home to more than 100 bird species. Rare native species like the kokako, saddlebacks, robins and yellowheads can be found here. It’s also the perfect place to go kiwi spotting as there are around 20,000 kiwi in residence.
There are a number of impressive coastal spots in Southland - Cathedral Caves near Waipati Beach, Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve and Waituna Lagoon and Wetland to name a few. The majestic McLean Falls are a must see too – over 20 metres high, the water plummets into the deep gorge below.
The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail provides something a little different with a series of walks and places of interest linked by easy drives. Begin your journey at Niagara Falls, a very short waterfall and continue on to Porpoise Bay, the home of the rare Hector’s dolphin. The end destination is Slope Point, the most southerly point of the South Island.