Icons Of The South

Home to the world famous Bluff oyster, picture-perfect Milford Sound, the Burt Munro Challenge, living legend Tim Shadbolt and the treasured Kiwi, here’s a compilation of Southland’s absolute “must see” icons.

Visitors are spoilt for choice in Southland, but if one must choose just a few special things, the best of the best are ready and waiting.  Guaranteed to tickle the tastebuds, the sumptuous Bluff oyster is the tastiest in the world and a premier icon of the South. The more adventurous can traverse the spectacular landscapes of the Milford Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, or dust off the two-wheeler for the Burt Munro Challenge. If given the chance, meeting Invercargill’s Mayor and local hero Tim Shadbolt is always a pleasure, as is spotting a kiwi on Stewart Island and getting a photo at the famous Bluff Signpost.

Bluff oysters

For a truly unique Southland flavour, one must visit Bluff and be treated to a Bluff oyster. Sought-after for menus worldwide, this southern delicacy is the most flavoursome oyster in the world thanks to its premium growing conditions in the clean, cold waters of Foveaux Strait. The harvest is celebrated at the annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival where locals and celebrities from around New Zealand have a grand feast of oysters and other local treats such as muttonbird, fresh seafood and wild game. More about Bluff Oysters...

Milford Sound

Milford Sound, found within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, is home to the Milford Track, a 53 km great walk over 4 days, reported as “the finest walk in the world.”  The Sound’s iconic Mitre Peak,  picture-perfect glassy waters and remote, rugged beauty make it one of the most photographed locations in the country and has been described by author Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World. More about Milford Sound...

Burt Munro Challenge

Bike enthusiasts from around the country and the world head to to the Burt Munro Challenge each November to celebrate the life of the multi world record breaker for the fastest recorded speed on an Indian motorcycle. After the success of the 2005 movie of Burt's life “The World’s Fastest Indian”, the Challenge was created for casual and professional riders to share Munro’s love of speed and motorcycles and is now known as one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. The event was named as one of Time magazine's 5 must-do events of 2013. As Time puts it: “Like its eponym, the Burt is unique, combining seven forms of racing: beach, circuit, street, long track, sprint, hill climb and speedway". Throw in live music, food, camping and Invercargill’s famous hospitality, and you’ve got one of the most colorful motorsport festivals ever conceived, the magazine goes on to say. More about the Burt Munro Challenge...

Iconic kiwi and Stewart Island

A symbolic national icon and international nickname for New Zealand people, the flightless kiwi is mostly found in Southland where, in fact, its own population far outweighs that of humans (with about 20,000 on Stewart Island alone). As a secretive and semi-nocturnal bird, few New Zealanders have actually seen the kiwi in the wild. However, a trip to Stewart Island’s Rakiura National Park provides many an opportunity.  Wander in the wilderness, or take a guided tour, and have a chance to see the iconic Kiwi in its natural habitat. It looks almost the same as it did over 1,000 years ago! More about the Kiwi and Stewart Island...

Tim Shadbolt

Voted second only to Bluff Oysters in the Southland Perceptions Study was Invercargill’s Mayor, Tim Shadbolt (now in his sixth term running since 1993). Seen as a living legend and local hero, Shadbolt has a long history in Southland for making valuable contributions to society and supporting the causes of average New Zealanders.  Often appearing at local events, Shadbolt’s reputation as a cheery and humorous ambassador has been well-earned. Attending local events that Shadbolt frequents or reading his regular column in the Southland Times will give visitors a chance to know the widely respected man. More about Mayor Tim Shadbolt...

Bluff signpost

Stirling Point in Bluff is home to the iconic signpost showing the direction and distance to parts of the world such as London, the Equator and the South Pole. Marking the beginning of State Highway One, the longest road in New Zealand running the entire length of the North and South Islands, visitors can have an iconic photo with the signpost, then take a walk from the Point; the 2 hour Foveaux Walk or the 30 minute Glory Track through the native forest are the most popular. More about the Bluff Signpost...