New Zealand Activities,
Attractions and Tours

Southland

The Catlins

The Catlins, hidden on the east coast of Southland, provide a myriad of adventures, from the beauty of sweeping beaches and towering cliffs to the history of a petrified forest and an old lighthouse.

It is a place of natural wonder, where sealions and dolphins frolic in the waves, seals bask on the rocks and penguins build their nests.

Walking tracks are dotted through the area, giving the visitor a chance to explore the ancient podocarp forests with their hidden waterfalls and quiet lakes.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island, Rakiura National Park, is Southland’s jewel. The island is home to many native birds, including the country’s icon, the Kiwi. Catching a glimpse of the rare nocturnal bird is a magical experience.

Rakiura can mean glowing skies in Maori and the empty, endless beaches provide breathtaking views of the heavens. The waters are startlingly clear and offer opportunities to snorkel, dive or kayak.

A small township, Oban, sits perched among the native bush, with the golf course, an adventure in itself, just over the hill.

Northern Southland

Rolling green hills and fertile plains are the heart of Northern Southland. The area is predominantly farming-orientated, and its main townships of Lumsden and Mossburn service that industry.

But tucked away are heritage trails, full of history and memories, and the area’s main attraction, the Kingston Flyer. The Flyer is an old steam train which puffs its way from the edge of Lake Wakatipu at Kingston to a stop on the plains.

Te Anau, Fiordland and Queenstown are close by and on the way to Te Anau, the beautiful Mavora Lakes provide another hidden treasure.

Beside Northern Southland is Central Southland, again mainly a farming area serviced by the town of Winton. But there is lots to do and explore, whether it be Centre Bush, with its craftspeople, or the many rivers and streams, which provide excellent fishing.

Western Southland


Stunning coastlines follow the road from Riverton to Tuatapere in Western Southland.

Riverton, one of the oldest towns in New Zealand, is a seaside haven with safe swimming beaches and peaceful walks, superb cafes to while away the hours and a rich local history.

Just around the coast is Colac Bay, home to Porridge, some of the best surfing in the south.

Inland is Tuatapere on the banks of the Waiau River, home to the starting point of New Zealand’s newest walk, the Hump Ridge Track. The track, created and built by the locals, covers a huge variety of landscapes, from sea to tundra, and includes the largest wooden viaduct in the world.

Invercargill

The renaissance of Invercargill has seen the growth of a modern and vibrant centre, which is the heart of Southland.

Heritage buildings, lovingly restored, are found throughout the city centre and Invercargill is also known for the Southland Museum and Art Gallery with its tuatara and Beyond the Roaring 40s Gallery. The museum is situated on the edge of Queens Park, an 80-hectare park with playgrounds, a golf course and a petting zoo. The city offers a large range of shops, lively cafes, bars and restaurants.

Twenty-seven kilometres further south is Bluff, the gateway to Stewart Island. The small town is unique – in its geography, history, industry and attractions – from the Stirling Point signpost signalling the beginning of the highway throughout New Zealand to the easy walking tracks which provide spectacular views of Stewart Island and Foveaux Strait. The world-renowned Bluff oyster is celebrated annually at the Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival.

Gore

Culture and heritage are becoming large drawcards to the southern rural town of Gore.

The town, famous for its country music and brown trout fishing, is growing into a hub of history and artwork. The Hokonui Moonshine Museum gives an insight into the illegal whisky distilling era, while the Art Gallery houses fine art from around the world, including the John Money collection and works from New Zealand’s premier artist, Ralph Hotere.

Near Gore the Croydon Aircraft Company specialises in restoring and repairing vintage planes at Mandeville.

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