Autumn may be one of the best times of the year to visit Southland. With the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer, Autumn is the perfect time to get out and experience our Southland nightlife.
Our small brown Kiwi and Southern Light nightlife experiences to be exact. If daytime is your preference, make sure you plan your trip around one of our fabulous festivals such as the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival or Riverton Heritage Harvest Festival. And while you are here, get out in nature and witness the stunning deciduous trees changing colour on one of our many outdoor walks.
Eat Bluff Oysters
Grown slowly in the cool, clean waters of Foveaux Strait, the world-famous Bluff Oyster is a true New Zealand delicacy. Every year in May, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival celebrates this southern delight with a day-long event full of great local food, entertainment and much more.
See the Southern Lights
Moving into Autumn is the best time to see the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), and what better place to see them than in Southland's only dark sky sanctuary, Stewart Island? In January 2019, Stewart Island/Rakiura was awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary accreditation due to the Island's outstanding sky quality. If you can’t make it to Stewart Island, Slope Point, the most Southern point on the South Island, or Fiordland National Park, are other great options for catching a glimpse of the famous Southern Lights.
Check out Riverton Heritage Harvest Festival
The Riverton Heritage Harvest Festival is an annual celebration of Southland's home harvest. Interactive displays, demonstrations, workshops, speakers, music, competitions & activities for all! Lasting three days, the Harvest Festival will have enough happening to keep your family busy.
Photo at the Bluff Signpost
Take in the 360-degree views of lower Southland at Bluff Lookout, get your photo taken at the iconic Stirling point signpost and walk the Foveaux Walkway along the coastal side of Bluff Hill/Motupōhue while gazing out over Foveaux Strait. This is also where the Te Araroa trail and State Highway 1 begins.
Shark Cage Diving
Autumn is a great time to fulfil your lifelong dream of being up close and personal with Great White Sharks. The fantastic Foveaux Strait and the beautiful northern Titi Islands are home to amazing fish life, some beautiful birds and some memorable sights.
Take a walk in the great outdoors
Discover one of the many walks in Southland, from short walks like Mores Scenic Reserve, Dolamore Park and Forest Hill Scenic Reserve through to epic multi day walks such as the Rakiura Track, one of NZ’s Great Walks and the Hump Ridge Track. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful seasonal colours and explore the region.
Wild Kiwi Spotting
With the days getting shorter, autumn is a great time of year to go kiwi spotting on Stewart Island. Experience the spectacular dune environment and wild west coast beach and learn about the natural history and early European history of the area all well keeping an eye out for the Brown Kiwi.
Eat a Cheese Roll
A local tradition and delicacy that is a must try for any travellers to Southland. More than just cheese and bread. These rolls are the embodiment of Southland, and they hook you in from the first bite. Ask a Southlander who makes the best cheese roll and you'll most likely receive a different answer each time, so the most scientific way to find the ultimate cheese roll is simple: try as many as possible in one of the many cafes in Southland. The perfect morning tea or soup accompaniment when the weather starts to get in the Autumn months.