The epicurean adventures you'll find in the deep south originate from idiosyncrasies of local culture and the subantarctic temperatures of Foveaux Strait.
You won't find wine growing in this region, but you will discover gourmet treasures that are found nowhere else in the country - like single malt whisky, haggis and Bluff oysters. This region never fails to surprise.
To a New Zealander, food in Southland means one thing - Bluff oysters. Some people say they’re the finest in the world. Grown slowly in the subantarctic waters of Foveaux Strait, Bluff oysters are fat, succulent and best eaten raw.
The oyster season generally runs from late March until the end of August.
Southland's clean, fresh waters are full of deliciously fresh seafood including paua, blue cod, scallops, rock lobsters and many deep inshore fish species, making it a seafood lover's paradise.
Deer farming is big in Southland, so any respectable restaurant will have venison on the menu.
Rack of Southland lamb is something else you simply have to try. In this green land, where every second person is a farmer, the quality of the meat is seldom equalled in other parts of the world.
Thanks to these lush pastures, Southland is also home to some of New Zealand's finest cheeses, including halloumi, camembert, feta and pecorino. Sheep's milk products such as cheese, ice cream and yoghurt are other highlights.
Sometimes it’s good to work for your dinner, and the well-stocked rivers around Mataura and Gore are known for trophy-sized brown trout. If you don’t have any luck, farmed salmon from Stewart Island is always available. Fresh or smoked, it’s absolutely exquisite.
A memorable cultural attraction in Southland is the Hokonui Moonshine Museum, which celebrates the region’s fascinating history of illicit whisky-making. The Invercargill Brewery is the Southern-most microbrewery, and guided tours of the plant and brewing process are fascinating. The brewery has won many awards, including one for their delicious Boysenberry Fruit Beer.