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Invercargill - The Friendly City

The wide streets, fine heritage buildings, excellent shopping facilities and the warm hospitality of locals, usually surprise visitors to Invercargill. A priority attraction is the Southland Museum and Art Gallery (where the Visitor Information Centre is located). Here you can virtually experience a visit to the Subantarctic Island through the audiovisual show and Roaring 40's exhibition, which will give you an insight to these spectacular and remote Southern landforms.

Invercargill is also the gateway to the magnificent Southern coastline of New Zealand. You can enjoy the magical atmosphere and tranquil beauty of Stewart Island - the only place in the world where you can view Kiwis living in their natural habitat.

Invercargill & Bluff tourism guide From Invercargill you can travel around the Southern Scenic Route and view Hectors Dolphins at Curio Bay, or tramp across the stunning Port Craig viaduct.

The lifestyle opportunities available to the people who live in Invercargill are exceptional. Good quality housing is affordable and there are no traffic jams. Invercargill NZ Sporting facilities such as Splash Palace and the new Leisure Centre are of an international standard. There is an abundance of golf courses, parks, conference centres, educational facilities, cafes, art galleries, theatres and all of the other delights of modern urban living. We are close to Queenstown and Dunedin.

You are sure to enjoy your visit to the Scenic South.

Some highlights include:

This 40m high historic tower is probably the city's bestknown landmark. Completed in 1889 using 300,000 bricks, the tower was Invercargill's main water supply. The water in the tank still provides enough pressure should the electric power supply to the modern pumps be interrupted unexpectedly. Public access is available on Sundays and public holidays - check opening times at Invercargill i-SITE.

Bluff is the oldest European town in New Zealand, having been settled continuously since 1824. Visitors can cruise by ferry or fly by helicopter from Bluff to Stewart Island / Rakiura. With a mountain bike track and walking tracks accessible from carparks located at the summit of Bluff Hill, Gunpit Road and Stirling Point - the beginning of SH1 - recreation opportunities are vast.

Thomsons Bush is a remnant of the mainly kahikatea swamp forest that once covered much of the Southland area. The native vegetation is dominated by kahikatea, matai and ribbonwood. It provides opportunities for walks and picnics. Located on both sides of Queens Drive on the northern side of the Waihopai River.

This walkway follows the Waihopai River from the Waihopai Dam at the northernmost point, to the Stead Street Bridge at the southernmost point. The entire 15km loop may take 4.5 hours but it canbe enjoyed in sections. The main access points are at Stead Street, North Road, Queens Drive and Racecourse Road.

Sandy Point is a natural playground 10km west of Invercargill - access is from Dunns Road, Otatara. A 13km network of well-formed signposted walking tracks makes it easy to explore the river banks, estuary and forest on foot. There is a great area of well-marked mountain biking tracks to suit all skill levels. There is also a horsefloat park and a good network of tracks available for people who wish to experience the area on horseback. The Visitor Centre is located on Sandy Point Road and provides detailed information on walks, flora, fauna and human history of the area.

The sweeping sandy expanse of Oreti Beach was the trail used by Maori travelling between Riverton and Oue / Sandy Point. The south end of the beach was called Ma Te Aweawe (Misty Way). The beach is 30 km long and the main vehicle entrance is at the end of Dunns Road, Otatara.

Signposted from SH1, immediately before the Greenpoint Cemetery. A well graded track and boardwalk follows the shoreline to Greenpoint, highlighting features of natural and historic interest that include a ship graveyard.

The Maori name for Bluff Hill is Motupohue (motu because of its island-like appearance from the sea and pohue for the native convolvulus that flowers in the forest). Recognised as a place with special cultural significance to Kai Tahu, Motupohue is a topuni site - derived from the traditional Kai Tahu custom of rangatira (chiefs) extending their mana (power and authority) over areas or people by placing their cloaks over them. The "Hill" is home to a network of short walks ranging from one to three hours in length. Signs onsite explain options for walking. The summit of Bluff Hill / Motupohue provides spectacular views out to Foveaux Strait and across Southland. A visit to Bluff wouldn't be complete without a photo at the famous signpost at Stirling Point, pointing the way to major cities around the world, and marking the southern end of State Highway 1 which runs the length of New Zealand.

Registered under the RAMSAR convention as a wetland of international significance, the Waituna Lagoon and wetlands is signposted on SH92. It is an important habitat for birds, native fish and trout and is home to some unusual plants, many of which can be seen during a short walk (1.5 hr return) through the area.

Information Centres:
  • Tuatara Backpackers
  • Invercargill i-SITE Visitor Centre
  • Southland Museum & Art Gallery

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