Winter in Southland should be your choice of season to visit.
With multiday festivals, ice sports, easy access to the slopes and plenty of belly-warming food, you don't want to miss your chance to experience Southland in winter. So rug up, bring your merinos and come down and explore our top Southland winter experiences.
Tussock Country Music Festival
If you love all things country music, make your way down to Gore, the country music capital of New Zealand, to attend the ten-day Tussock Country Music Festival. It's a vibrant celebration of Kiwi culture embracing music, fine art, heritage, top-notch hospitality, whiskey tastings and high-street fashion. With over 30 events, including the legendary Gold Guitar Awards, that old line 'there's something for everyone' has never been more true.
MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards
Held annually in July, the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards is a competitive platform for all amateur fashion designers to showcase their designs to well-regarded industry leaders. If you have a passion for fashion, don't miss out on planning your winter trip to Southland.
Although Southland has no ski fields, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on your winter sports activities. Head down to Ice Sports Southland at Gore Multisports Complex and try your hand (or broom) at curling or strap your skates and show off your double axel turns.
Soak in the Hot Tub at Welcome Rock
Keep warm during the cool Southland days by taking a soak 1100 meters above sea level with a glass of local wine, all while experiencing the extraordinary views of the Mataura Valley and Eyre Mountains.
Check out New Zealand's Garage
It may appear Invercargill is obsessed with anything that has wheels. Visit Bill Richardson Transport World, which holds the largest private collection of its type in the world, or see the illustrious display of motorcycles at Classic Motorcycle Mecca. Check out Invercargill's motorcycle legend of speed, Burt Munro, at E. Hayes and Sons Motorworks. Have a go at Dig This Invercargill, New Zealand's first and only heavy equipment playground.
Visit Tumu Toka Curioscape
Tumu Toka Curioscape in Curio Bay is an essential stop for all visitors to the south. This world-class interpretive centre intends to educate and share the unique stories of Curio Bay, its wildlife, people, and history. Within the Gateway Experience, touch screens allow you to tailor your experience, and the immersive theatre is a must-see.
Spotting a kiwi in their natural environment is an essential experience when in New Zealand. Stewart Island is one of the best places to spot the Southern brown kiwi (Rakiura tokoeka) in the wild. Choose from one of the many operators…
Savour the South
The cooler Southland months are a great time to warm the belly and sample (or indulge) in some of Southland’s famous comfort food offerings. Savour the South by trying local delicacies such as cheese rolls, swedes, and world-famous Bluff Oysters and Southland Blue Cod - all dished up with a good dash of southern hospitality.
Wilderness and Wildlife
Visiting Southland in winter is an absolute ‘must do’ for anyone passionate about the natural world and authentic encounters. This wild coast is home to an array of marine life, including sea lions, Hector’s Dolphins and the distinctive Hoiho, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. As the nights get longer, take a trip to Stewart Island to spot the rare kiwi bird in its natural habitat.