Southland - Murihiku
In contrast to the dryness of Central Otago, Southland is lush and green. Tranquil waterways attract fly-fishing enthusiasts in search of brown trout. Near-pristine southern rainforest provides opportunities for day walks and hiking. The amazing Catlins Coast promises wildlife encounters and the chance to see Curio Bay - a petrified forest of subtropical kauri and other trees dating back to the Jurassic age.
Scenery to soothe your soul
Southland's largest urban centre is Invercargill, a city of 49,000 people. Visitors come to admire the elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, gardens and landscaped parks.
A half hour drive south from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff - home to the famous Bluff oyster and a lively annual seafood festival.
From Bluff, visitors can catch a ferry to Stewart Island - a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you can readily see kiwi in their natural habitat.
The Catlins Coast
Winding between Fortrose and Kaka Point, the Catlins Coast takes you to enthralling wildlife experiences, beautiful waterfalls and rustic, farmland scenery. Beaches, forest walks and nostalgic hospitality will capture your heart.
Park in the city
Invercargill is built around beautiful Queens Park - 80 hectares of gardens, wildlife and sporting fun. As well as an 18-hole golf course, the park has animal enclosures, a bird aviary, play areas and the Southland Museum.
Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
Stewart Island is an ecological wonderland. The clamour of civilisation is replaced by rapturous birdsong and sounds of the sea. Rendezvous with a kiwi, visit Ulva Island bird sanctuary or walk one of the many tracks.
There are daily flights to Invercargill from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
From Invercargill you can drive to Queenstown in 2 ½ hours or Te Anau in 2 hours.
Pack warm clothing during autumn and winter months. There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!
At all times of the year, the ferry to Stewart Island departs twice daily; the plane departs three times a day.