Southland offers rugged scenery, native wildlife, motoring history and stand out local produce.
Here are the top 10 things to do in the beautiful Southland.
1. Nugget Point and the Catlins Coast
The Catlins is a must-do where you’ll find a world of waterfalls, coastal walkst, dramatic scenery and Nugget Point Lighthouse. Learn more about the region’s rich heritage and unique Jurassic forest at Tumu Toka Curioscape(opens in new window). Journey through podocarp forests, along stunning coastlines, to hidden lakes and breathtaking waterfalls. This wild coastal stretch is home to an array of wildlife including sea lions, Hector’s Dolphins and rare but distinctive Hoiho, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin.
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.
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). Visit Bluff, one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand, and experience the world’s best seafood at Oyster Cove Cafe(opens in new window). Bluff is particularly famous for its Oysters that are slowly grown in the pristine waters of the Foveaux Strait.
Kiwi spotting on Stewart Island is a unique experience found nowhere else in New Zealand or the world! Considered a rite of passage for New Zealand visitors, a voyage over the Foveaux Strait to Rakiura/Stewart Island is a must. On Stewart Island humans are outnumbered 50 to 1 by kiwi and this southern sanctuary offers a unique kiwi spotting experience as the birds are practically on your doorstep. You can choose from a wide range of kiwi spotting tours(opens in new window).
There are few places that have such varied landscapes nestled together like Southland, right on the edge of New Zealand. Soon to be home to five of the ten New Zealand Great Walks, Rakiura, Kepler, Milford,Routeburn, and Hump Ridge tracks are perfect for the hiking inclined traveller. There are also plenty of short walks, coastal walks and night walks. Or waterfall trails for the photographer, night walks for kiwi spotting and exclusive coastal walks for the beach lovers.
10. Southern Scenic Route
The Southern Scenic Route is ranked as one of the top 10 drives of the world. Over 600km of natural and cultural attractions laid out one after the other – wildlife viewing, short walks, mountain biking, surfing, fishing, hunting, boating, camping, tramping and caving – making it an ideal drive for those with the time to explore.