Riverton, Western Southland
Deb Racz

Experience Riverton & Area

A great stop on the Southern Scenic Route is the small surfing village of Riverton Aparima. The seaside town is appropriately dubbed the ‘Riviera of the South’. It is thirty kilometres from Invercargill and is nestled on the western end of Oreti Beach. From various galleries, historic sites, and two heritage trails. Riverton Aparima is sort of a gateway to all Western Southland has to offer. It has the perfect mixture of history, culture, and adventure!

Aparima Riverton is nearly 200 years old and is the oldest Pakeha settlement in Southland and one of the earliest European settlements across New Zealand. The immersive Te Hikoi Southern Journey Heritage Museum is in the town centre and will take you through not just the town’s history but also the region’s history and ancestry. The museum features life-size displays and engaging stories that reveal how early Māori and Europeans adapted to survive on nature’s edge and live together.

While a small town, Riverton is sure to catch your attention, whether it is the massive paua shell, lined with 1000 sheets of real paua, that sits at the town’s entrance, or the big vibrant murals along the sides of some of the main building in town, or the ocean and estuary views, Riverton will keep you captivated.

The location of Riverton is spectacular, on one side of the town you see the ocean and on the other side is the estuary known as Aparima River (formerly known as Jacob’s River Estuary). Riverton’s surrounding beaches and estuary are natural playgrounds. Mitchell’s Bay is much-loved by surfers and Taramea Bay is particularly popular with families as it provides easy and safe swimming. Surrounded by bays and beaches, Riverton makes for a perfect family day out, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, horse riding, walking, golfing and so much more!

Considering the size of the town, it has quite a few places to grab a delicious bite and refreshing drink. Due to the location of the small surfing town, you will likely always have a view of the water. So, it just depends on what eatery you choose, you will probably either get a view of the sea or the estuary! Many of the food establishments try to fill their menu with seafood favourites like blue cod and Bluff oysters.

The seaside town is quite popular with Kiwi families, as is evident by the holiday homes, or more lovingly referred to locally as a ‘crib’, scattered across the town. Visitors can stay at these cribs as well as most are available for rent or you can stay at motels, holiday parks and more. No matter where you stay in town, you will likely be able to see the water or smell the fresh ocean breeze.

Riverton & Area Activities

Thirty kilometres from Invercargill, the seaside town of Aparima Riverton is one of the most popular towns in Western Southland and is a great stop on the Southern Scenic Route. The township is nestled at the western end of Oreti Beach, set in a picturesque location that spans Jacob’s River Estuary. The fondly named “Riviera of the South” is a fantastic place for a family holiday or a real New Zealand “crib” (seaside bach) experience.

In a historic brick building on Palmerston Street in Riverton you'll find the South Coast Environment Centre, a collective of community based groups all working to leverage and care for the lush landscape and…

Established in 1956, the The Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club's impressive museum can be found in the heart of Thornbury, a tiny rural town just off the main Invercargill-Riverton Highway. Our club is…

Feel on top of the world at Mores Scenic Reserve, a beautiful reserve that offers excellent views over the coast and the surrounding land, as well as several great short walks. The reserve is located on Howells Hill…

Colac Bay Ōraka is a 10-minute drive westward from Riverton. The bay is very popular for surfing, with waves suitable for all levels, and its northern end is good for swimming. The Colac Bay Classic, a surf…

On Gemstone Beach the surf has been known to wash up semi-precious gems such as garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite for keen explorers to find. The beach is in a constant state of change with the surface shifting…

The fascinating Monkey Island can be reached by foot - but only at low tide! A stairway leads to the top of the island, where there are spectacular views of Te Waewae Bay and the mountains of Fiordland. Before the…

Te Hikoi Southern Journey Museum and Information Centre is Western Southland's ultimate heritage attraction. Located on the Southern Scenic Route in Riverton, just a short drive from Invercargill, the museum…

Have you ever dreamed of learning to surf or stand-up paddle board? Here is your opportunity to learn how in fun and safe environment with all equipment supplied. Choose from our selection of surfboards and stand-up…

South Island's ultimate jet boat ride! 94kms of jet boating into the heart of Fiordland National Park and back; travel across Lake Hauroko and down to the rugged southern coast via the wild Wairaurahiri River. Our…