Food And Drink

Whether it’s Bluff Oysters or blue cod accompanied by a fine chardonnay, sampling Southland’s local cuisine is sure to re-energize the palate.

You can blame the Bluff oysters and the blue cod for starting the obsession but everything from Southland gives this cook a thrill.  Imagine combining a fantastic local spirit, super local produce and great beverages you have a winning combination.  From those glorious swedes, incredible local potatoes, stunning hazelnuts, innovative artisan dairy, drop dead fab chocolates, a seriously strong coffee culture mixed up with great seafood, a history of super bakeries and super hospitality – it’s no wonder people love to head to Southland for a gourmet trip that will delight.  How can you complain, when the down-to-earth friendly locals serve up such great fare and willingly help you meet other producers and suppliers?  Recently after a day enjoying everything oyster I had a fireside dinner in an eatery in the main street of Invercargill. Imagine super wine, the glow of the fire, friendly, fun company and some of the best food I have eaten in a restaurant in many a day – such was my delight I asked the chef for his hand in marriage – however polygamy is not on the cards but the luscious memories will linger.

Annabelle White, The Cuddly Cook, Food Editor NZ Women’s Weekly

Seafood lover’s paradise

The Southland seafood journey begins in Bluff, where its oysters are described as some of the finest in the world and celebrated at the annual Bluff Oyster & Food Festival. Southland’s clean, coastal waters are full of deliciously fresh seafood including paua, blue cod, salmon, rock lobsters and many deep sea and inshore fish species, making it a seafood lover’s paradise. Seafood from the region rates as one of the world’s best; it must be tasted to truly believe. 

Mouthwatering meats

Next on the Southern food journey is mouthwatering meats. Thanks to its fertile landscape, the region grows high quality meat for domestic and overseas markets including beef, lamb elk and cervena. Organic meats like venison are also produced, where long hours of sunlight, stable temperatures and lush grass mean high quality produce for local cafes, restaurants and export.

A local delicacy and favourite is the mutton bird, known for its succulent and tender meat when cooked. The southern Maori have had control of muttonbirding rights since prehistoric times, where the Titi Islands off Stewart Island (Rakiura) provide a harvesting ground every April. This is the only place in New  Zealand that muttonbirds can be found and gathered.

Try our beer

The Invercargill Brewery is known as the Southernmost Micro Brewery by locals, but its beers are fit for any longitude or season. The brewery lets visitors sample southern-made beers and take guided tours of the factory and brewing process, where taste buds are let loose to run wild. The Brewery has won many awards, its most recent being a triumph at the Australian International Beer Awards for 2012 for their Boysenberry Fruit Beer.


Thanks to its lush pastures, Southland is home to some of New Zealand’s finest cheeses and an old favourite, the cheese roll (sometimes known locally as Southland sushi). Virtually unknown in the North Island, the cheese roll is simple yet delicious and when made with the freshest local dairy ingredients, is sure to impress even seasoned cheese lovers.

Visitors can try fantastic local produce at local cafes and restaurants, or at the Southern Farmers Market, where farmers and growers sell their produce directly to consumers.