The Riverton-Aparima South Coast Heritage Trail will open up a world of history, discovery and natural beauty, as it takes you on a journey around the southern coastal areas of Southland. Before Europeans set foot on New Zealand soil, Maori had recognised the wealth of resources nestled along the sheltered shores of the river estuary. The coast and forest provided a banquet for the Maori communities who occupied this area. Subtle hints of their early settlement and cultural influences remain today, adding colour and richness to the woven history of the area. Today, the seaside town of Riverton gives little clue to its vibrant past. Now a mecca for artists and craftspeople, the town started out in the late 1830s and was one of New Zealand’s first established European settlements. By the late 1850s, the frontier town of Jacobs River, (as it was originally known) had become an important base for new settler arrivals and was the centre for the development of extensive pastoral runs and agricultural holdings in the surrounding area. As the land was cleared, thriving new industries sprang up including flaxmilling, sawmilling, goldmining and boat building, which along with farming and fishing have all contributed to the area’s employment and wealth. The Riverton-Aparima South Coast Heritage Trail takes you some 80kms around the South Coast, from Waimatuku to Orepuki, deviating in places from the spectacular Southern Scenic Route. The trail can be travelled from either direction. It’s a cultural, historical, and at times breathtaking journey that’s made even more memorable if you stop a while in the townships, meet the people who call this place home, comb the beaches, even stay overnight and enjoy some world famous Southland hospitality! For a full description of the 14 points of interest, including map and site information, pick up the Riverton-Aparima South Coast Heritage Trail brochure from the Invercargill i-SITE.