Things to do and places to visit in the Southland and Fiordland region
Southland is a land of rugged coast and rolling plains, world-renowned Bluff oysters and the launching place for a visit to Stewart Island. Southland’s largest centre is Invercargill. If you’re a garden lover you must see Queens Park and its 80 hectares of tree-lined walkways and diverse gardens. The city turns on the hospitality so, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you’ll find plenty of friendly and high standard accommodation. Half an hour from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff. Known for its fabulous seafood, this is the place to taste the famous Bluff oysters. If you like bird watching, catch a ferry to Stewart Island where you’ll find a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you have a fair chance of seeing kiwi in their native habitat. And speaking of wildlife, head along the Southland coast to the Catlins. The Catlins River Walk leads you through beech forest and is known for its hidden waterfalls and rare native birds. At Curio Bay you’ll find fossilized trees, over 180 million years old, embedded in coastal bedrock. And at Nugget Point you’ll find fur seals, sea lions, sooty shearwaters, shags, yellow-eyed penguins, spoonbills and a breeding colony of gannets. And if you look closely, you may see Hector's dolphins frolicking out in the waves.
Fiordland features a number of fiords (often named sounds), of which Milford Sound is the most famous, though Doubtful Sound is larger and has more, and longer, branches (but is less accessible). Situated within Fiordland are Browne Falls and Sutherland Falls, which rank among the tallest waterfalls in the world, and New Zealand's three deepest lakes, Lake Hauroko, Lake Manapouri, and Lake Te Anau. Several other large lakes lie nearby, and Fiordland and the surrounding parts of Southland and Otago Regions are often referred to as The Southern Lakes.