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.
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From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.
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