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Southland
 
 
 
Southland is New Zealand's southern-most region, and includes New Zealand's third island, Stewart Island, which is a bird watching paradise and the only place in the world where you can view Kiwis living in their natural habitat. Southland is lush and green and its pastoral lands are among the richest in the country, a strong contrast to the dryness of Central Otago further north. Nearby towns include Mataura, Gore, Bluff and Winton.

General
















  Southland's largest urban centre is Invercargill, which is home to many elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, gardens and landscaped parks. Like Dunedin to the north, Scots also settled Invercargill.
A half hour drive from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff, home to the famous Bluff oyster and a lively annual seafood festival. From Bluff, visitors can catch a ferry to Stewart Island. Unspoilt in its isolation, Stewart Island across Foveaux Strait is the third largest island making up New Zealand. Tracks for serious walkers connect the islands rainforests, wetlands, sandy beaches and sheltered bays.
On the wild stretch of coast, winding between Fortrose in the south and Kaka Point to the north, is the Catlins Coast. A place of hidden waterfalls and river valleys, where native forest meets the water's edge and rocky bays, inlets and estuaries make up some of the region's most magnificent coastal scenery. Natural wonders include the petrified forest at Curio Bay, Cathedral Caves (only accessible at low tide), Jacks Blowhole (100 metres from the sea and giving a good show at high tide), magnificent waterfalls and the powerful setting of Nugget Point, where you can see fur seals, sea lions, gannets, sooty shearwaters, shags and yellow-eyed penguins. Visitors should allow ample time to experience the many bushwalks and wildlife viewing opportunities this area has to offer.
     
Main attractions &
Activities












  Invercargill has an excellent art gallery and museum with high-tech audio-visual displays based on the flora and fauna of New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands. It also has a unique live display of the tuatara, a lizard-like reptile related to the dinosaur, that is native to New Zealand.
Southland is renowned for challenging walking tracks that venture into wild and rugged landscapes, although many of the region's loveliest places can be enjoyed in a more leisurely way without the need for tramping boots or heavy packs. Exploring ancient forests, windswept coastlines and sheltered picnic places is easy; they are all on the doorstep. Many of the walks are within a two hour drive from Invercargill. There are also many farmstay options available in this region for those looking for a real Kiwi experience.
Gore, on the Mataura River, has gained a good reputation for its trout fishing opportunities.
For anyone seeking peace and tranquillity, Stewart Island is the ultimate spot. There are superb bush walks and great launch cruises around some of New Zealand's most beautiful coastline.
     
To get there

  There are daily flights to Invercargill from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. From Invercargill you can drive to Te Anau in 2 hours, 10 minutes or to Queenstown in 3 hours. Invercargill to Dunedin is a 3 hour, 10 minute drive.

     



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