THINGS TO DO IN INVERCARGILL
Invercargill (Waihōpai) is the regional capital and commercial hub of Southland. Founded in the 1850’s, it is New Zealand’s southernmost city - and one of the southernmost cities in the world.
Fondly dubbed the "City of Water and Light", referring to the long summer daylight hours, frequent appearances of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), and the city’s position beside the Waihopai River estuary, Invercargill has plenty of character and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
Wide streets in a gridded layout make it easy to find your way around the city to enjoy the excellent cultural attractions, outstanding nature reserves and parks, and lively cafes, restaurants and bars. There’s something for the whole family in Invercargill!
Invercargill, is also called New Zealand’s “Classic Motoring Capital”, the city boasts an impressive vintage truck collection at Bill Richardson Transport World - the largest private collection of its type in the world, a world-class display of over 300 motorcycles and motorcycle related artwork at Classic Motorcycle Mecca, and a celebration of the legend of speed himself, Burt Munro, at E Hayes Motorworks.
The pride of Invercargill is Queens Park, a magnificent public park in the heart of the city. The park sprawls across 80 hectares of beautifully kept gardens, wildlife habitats, and sports areas.
Queens Park is perfect for families with children. There is a popular playground, a water park, and plenty of space for running around. Bring your own picnic or visit the cafe in the center of the park.
Southland’s port, Bluff (Motupōhue), lies thirty kilometres south of Invercargill.
The most-photographed spot in Bluff is the famous signpost at Stirling Point, which is a highlight for any visitor to the South. The signpost points out distances to major cities around the world and marks the beginning of State Highway 1, New Zealand’s main highway which traverses the whole length of the country all the way to Cape Reinga in the far north.
Stewart Island (Rakiura) is the southernmost and smallest island of the three main islands of New Zealand. Just 30km from the South Island, Activities on the island include walking, birding, fishing, sea kayaking, diving, and hunting. S It is also a haven for bird life, such as friendly Kaka, little Blue Penguins, rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and dozens of other native species. It is the only place in New Zealand where you can readily see Brown Kiwi in their natural habitat.
The Catlins, the spectacular coastal stretch between Balclutha and Invercargill, boasts a rugged beauty and untouched quality that is magnetic. Here you’ll find a world of native forests fringed by high cliffs, deserted sandy beaches, sparkling bays, cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes, blowholes, caves, and even a petrified forest. These environments are home to an array of fauna, from native birds, to seals, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. The Catlins’ natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary.
Often described as the “eighth wonder of the world”, the jewel in Fiordland’s crown, and one of the New Zealand’s top travel destinations, Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) was carved by glaciers thousands of years ago during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, forest-clad cliffs rise vertically from clear, dark waters, waterfalls cascade downwards into the sea from as high as 1000 metres, and mountain peaks scrape the sky - the most famous being the monumental Mitre Peak which rises 1,700 metres out of the water.