From petrified forests embedded in the rock of the Catlins Coast to the first-sized oysters of Bluff and the wildlife wonders of remote Steward Island, New Zealand's southernmost reaches have more than a few secrets to share with the inquisitive visitor.
New Zealand's third island lies 30 kilometres off the south coast across the Foveaux Strait. With only 15 kilometres of roads and 85 percent of the island uninhabited and protected, it's a mecca for walkers and bird watchers. In fact, more than 30 winged species call the island home, including the weka, the critically endangered kakapo and, most famously, the Stewart Island kiwi which, unlike its mainland cousin, is active during daylight hours. Nearby Uva Island is the best place spot them.
Invercargill & Bluff
Windswept Invercargill is a good base from which to explore the wilds of Southland. It's a small town, situated at the head of the New River Estuary, and features some fine buildings ornately carved from white Oarmuru Stone. Be sure to include a visit to the Invercargill Brewery to try its boysenberry and coffee-scented beers. And, don't miss nearby Bluff, just to the south at the tip of a peninsula which forms New Zealand's southernmost point. Famed for its oysters, which are considered to be some of the world's best, it's also the departure point for boat trips to Stewart Island.
Invercargill, New Zealand
The Catlins Coast
Plunging cliffs, dense rainforest, sandy beaches and rocky bays characterise the Catlins Coast from Balclutha to Invercargill. The are abounds in wildlife, including penguins, seals and dolphins. Other highlights include Nugget Point, the Purakaunui Falls and Curio Bay, home to a Jurassic fossil forest clearly visible at low tide.
The Catlins Coast