Whether it is through word of mouth from those who have been or from The Lord of the Rings movies that you have seen, the one thing that rings true is New Zealand is 100 percent pure.
But no part of New Zealand is purer than Southland, a natural playground of unmatched beauty in the country’s southernmost region.
Located at the base of the Earth, Southland is quite literally the world’s backyard, unspoiled and beautiful both inside and out.
Blessed with emerald rainforests, fertile farmlands, and sweeping coastlines, Southland is an unparalleled nature and wildlife destination. The rugged, beautiful coastal region, coupled with its expansive and dramatic scenery, provides a fantastic setting for adventures such as cycling, surfing, fishing, hiking, or just brisk walking.
One of Southland’s most cherished assets is its coastline which stretches a staggering 3,400 kilometers, unmarred by development. Perfect for those who want to get off the beaten track, it invites travelers to be one with nature in tranquil surroundings.
Aside from harnessing its nature to create amazing experiences, the region’s landscapes make for amazing food.
A foodie destination, Southland’s free-flowing rivers and streams are trout-rich, and the cold waters of the Foveaux Strait just off the Bluff Harbour are the freshest, bestowing upon the region supreme flavour to succulent oysters and blue cod. Word on the street is that Bluff oysters are the finest in the world and it is hard to argue with that.
Equally, its sprawling green pastures are excellent for farming prime lamb and beef and producing the finest melt-in-your-mouth sheep cheese. In fact, it has been said that the best cheese rolls, a local snack and a childhood favorite, are found in Southland.
With an abundance of mouthwatering gourmet treasures, it is rather impossible for anyone to go hungry in Southland.
But what inspires visitors to stay? It could be its vast array of lakes, rivers, mountains, and open plains. Perhaps it is its character-filled towns, sure to charm even the weariest of travelers. Or the close proximity between the two.
“You know, you could be in Invercargill, 15 minutes later you would be on Stewart Island. You jump in your car, in an hour and a half you may be in Manapouri,” Stewart Island Flights pilot Raymond said. A quick escape is never too far away.
Or maybe, it is the Southland folk who are always ready to greet you with a warm welcome.
If there is something that any returning visitor to Southland can agree on, it is this: in this part of the world, the people are remarkably humble and generous with smiles. It is never hard to gain a new friend as the serene surroundings and wide open spaces make for a great opportunity to find kinship.
As you strike up a conversation with a friendly local, hang on to his or her every word. You would be pleasantly surprised to find that they even have their own accent. Southland is the only part of New Zealand that does.
Southland folk are relaxed, with hardly a worry in the world. And before your time in Southland comes to an end, you will discover that this characteristic is truly infectious. Why? Well, the answer is quite literally all around you.
Its relatively high latitude also means the region enjoys nearly 16 hours of daylight at the height of summer and around eight hours mid-winter. These extended daylight hours mean there is plenty of time for explorations and escapes.
Sign up for a day’s excursion out to marvel at Southland’s stunning vistas of mountains and pristine beaches for a relaxing getaway or adrenaline-fueled activities, or while away at a neighborhood pub. No matter the season, it is never really too hot nor too cold, or too starved of daylight to do anything. This keeps people active and happy, nourishing the soul and paving the way for memories of great adventures to be made.
Even when it rains, Southland’s residents view it as a glass half full. As Catlins Surf wave catcher Nick said, “I always tell people if it is raining, it’s a great day to go surfing. Because you are going to get wet anyway.”
If they are lucky, surfers like Nick may meet an aquatic friend or two leaping and playing alongside him on a good day out riding the rolling waves.
“A lot of days we surf and we do have dolphins come and interact with us. The Hector’s dolphins are very inquisitive. They take every opportunity to come and check us out,” Nick shared.
Shaped by nature, Southland and its people are truly one of a kind.
So come and embrace the awe-inspiring beauty of Southland.