Wind-swept Invercargill is a good base from which to explore Southland. It's a small town, situated at the head of the New River Estuary, and has some fine stone buildings ornately carved from white Oamuru stone.
Be sure to visit the Invercargill Brewery, to try both its boysenberry and coffee-scented beers.
Just south of Invercargill, at the tip of a peninsula, is the small town of Bluff, mainland New Zealand's southernmost tip. Famed above all for its oysters, considered by some to be the best in the world, Bluff is also the departure point for boat trips to Stewart Island.