Invercargill City Guide
Invercargill is less than 30 minutes to the port town of Bluff – home of the delectable Bluff Oyster. Invercargill, on the Southern Scenic Route, is the gateway to some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery and destinations.
The Catlins, Fiordland, Queenstown and other desirable locations are readily accessible from Invercargill. New Zealands third island Stewart Island can be reached by a short flight or ferry ride.
Visitors to Invercargill often say how much there is to see and do in NZ's largest southern-most town. Invercargill invites you to experience the warmth, friendliness and hospitality of Southland.
With a combination of cultural attractions, a rejuvenated city life and outstanding nature reserves and parks, visitors to Invercargill often say how much there is to see and do in Invercargill.
From excellent shopping to lively cafes, restaurants and bars, Invercargill has all the benefits of city life with few of the drawbacks. The inner city upgrade has transformed the city centre into a modern, attractive and vibrant heart of the city. The variety and number of heritage buildings in the city centre add to Invercargill’s character.
Explore the city and its many fine museums, art galleries and parks or take a short trip to one of the bush reserves, beaches or gardens on Invercargill's outskirts.
Whether you are looking for fun and entertainment or a relaxing holiday taking in the pleasures of our friendly city, you can do it all in Invercargill.
Invercargill is flat and easy to get around regardless of your choice of transport.
A public bus service operates six days a week covering the inner city and outlying suburbs. The bus timetable is available from the Invercargill Passenger Transport, phone
+64 3 218 7108. Freebie Bus travels within the inner city free of charge on weekdays.
Invercargill has two taxi companies which provide an excellent service:
Blue Star Taxis, ph +64 3 218 6079
City Cabs, ph +64 3 214 444
If arriving at the airport, please call either of these businesses to arrange your transport. Shuttles and rental vehicles are also available.
The flatness and close proximity of facilities make walking and cycling an attractive option in Invercargill. While Invercargill offers all you would expect from a modern city, you can be assured of avoiding the traffic jams and delays now commonly experienced in other metropolitan areas.
"Where the Highway Begins"
Bluff is unique – in its geography, history, industry and attractions.It’s certainly worth spending a night in the town and experiencing it for yourself.
The easy walking tracks provide spectacular views over Stewart Island and Foveaux Strait, and pass through lush forest with tall native trees, like rimu, rata and kamahi. From the lookout on the summit of Bluff Hill Motupohue a panorama of Southland’s mountains, plains, estuaries and islands is revealed. The famous Stirling Point signpost signals the beginning of the Highway throughout New Zealand.
If you visit Bluff during the oyster season take the time to try the world famous Bluff oyster a much sought after delicacy. The Bluff Oyster is celebrated annually at the Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival, which is held annually on Foreshore Road in Bluff. A wide variety of food and wine stalls plus an all day entertainment package combine to make the Festival a great day out. Visit www.bluffoysterfest.co.nz for more details.
The town itself is well serviced with a variety of accommodation, restaurants, dairies, service stations and an information centre. Bluff is only twenty seven kilometres south of Invercargill, from which a regular bus service operates.
WALKS AND WILDLIFE
Stretch your legs and wonder at the harmony of nature on one of Invercargill’s manageable bush trails. Walk through totara forest at Sandy Point Domain, just 7km west of the city. Experience the native bird-life and climb the sand dunes. Look-out points on the many tracks give fantastic views of the New River Estuary, which borders the domain. Take time to reflect our history. This peninsula was home to early Maori and used by whalers.
For a more tangible view of history, take the track at Greenpoint Domain, 2km north of Bluff. It is a ships graveyard. This piece of coast was a past dumping ground for vessels at the end of their lives. Skeletons of steel whalers and beached fishing boats litter the shore.
Breathe deeply and taste the sea air of Bluff. Foveaux Walkway is a walk along rugged coastline below ‘Motupohue’ (The Bluff). A circular track just over 7km in length starts out on the Foveaux Walkway. It continues on from Lookout Point, over Bluff Hill and back to Stirling Point.
For a short 20-30 minute excursion try the Glory Track, one way between Stirling Point and Gunpit Road.
A variety of short bush walks are available at some smaller reserves close to Invercargill.
North meets south at Awarua Wetlands. The wetlands are a stronghold for migratory birds from the Northern Himsphere, water fowl and native birds such as fernbirds and bittern. Many species of wading birds can also be observed at Awarua Bay. Altogether, Awarua Wetlands Scientific Reserve and the adjoining Seaward Moss and Toetoes conservation areas cover 14,000 hectares. This is the largest protected wetlands in southern New Zealand.
Check out the Department of Conservation website for more information on tracks around Invercargill and Southland: www.doc.govt.nz
PARKS AND GARDENS
Invercargill abounds with superb parks and gardens. For a city so small, they are a treasure that local folk are truly proud of. Take time to explore nature at is most noble and preservation at its proudest.....
Invercargill’s Queens Park, is the grandest of all the city's parks. Encompassing more than 80 hectares, it offers the visitor the most diverse range of facilities and attractions.
The Park boasts two beautiful and varied rose gardens, a rhododendron dell, an azalea garden, dramatic tree lined walkways, bush paths, a selection of native plants, a Japanese garden, rock and herb gardens. There is an indoor Winter Garden featuring tropical and flowering plants. Queens Park also has an impressive bird aviary, animal enclosures, children’s play areas, extensive sporting facilities and a cafe. Also prominent on the ground is the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
Anderson Park surrounds the Anderson Park Art Gallery and covers 24 hectares of flower and rose gardens, immaculate lawn, tall trees and native bush. There is also a traditional carved Maori house, a short bush walk circuit, duck pond and childrens playground. The Andersons' elegant home, now houses the Anderson Park Art Gallery Society's splendid collection of quality New Zealand art.
Popular shaded pathways, winding along the banks of the Otepuni Stream make a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city's commercial centre. The spacious 9.4 hectares, encompassing four city blocks, are an important central landmark, and joggers and cyclists take advantage of the sense of seclusion the gardens offer.
Southland Festival of Gardens
During late October and early November, Southland’s Festival of the Gardens gives opportunity for visitors to view magnificent properties not always open to the public. The festival continues in February, allowing summer blooms to feature at their best.
With over 25 gardens on display around Southland, there is a vast selection to choose from to meet even the most discerning of tastes.