Welcome to Southland
Nau mai, haere mai
Southland (Murihiku) is world famous. We’re home to Fiordland and some of New Zealand’s most dramatic, awe-inspiring and iconic wilderness and wildlife.
It’s always been like this. Māori drew on several hundred years of local know-how and formed a unique bond with early Europeans, leading to the rapid growth of exports by both. We reckon there must be something in the water (and not just Bluff Oysters).
Today, Southland’s economy is booming, bringing real opportunity and benefits to the entire region, from our smallest settlements to our largest city. But you don’t have to be rich to enjoy our rich lifestyle. Anyone with the right attitude can create the future and freedom they’ve always wanted.
Our streets are safe, the quality of education high, and the cost of living low. Homes are more affordable, and the traffic won’t drive you up the wall. Workdays have a before and after too, so you’ll always find time to enjoy our wide open spaces, eateries, thriving arts scene and world-class sports facilities.
Southlanders are surrounded and sustained by lush farmland, rich waters, bountiful coastlines and abundant nature. We care deeply about the treasures in our backyard, and the Māori spirit of Kaitiaki (guardianship) over them is something that anchors and unites us all.
We’re a welcoming, generous lot. Down to earth, unapologetically proud, and focused on an exciting future. We could go on, but the long and short of it is that the door’s always open, the jug’s always on, and we can’t wait to show you around.
Discover Southland's regions
Central Southland is 1.5 million hectares of lush, rolling farmland. The district has always thrived…
Tucked between the towering peaks of Fiordland to the west, the Takitimu mountain range to the…
Did you know...
- Early European settlement in Southland was dominated by Scots and the softly rolled ‘r’s of local residents - New Zealand’s only regional accent - are a reminder of that heritage.
- At around 120 years old, Henry the Tuatara is Invercargill’s oldest living resident and one of its most famous. He can be viewed alongside other Tuatara at the Tuatarium in Queens Park.
- Despite perceptions, Invercargill receives less rain than either Auckland or Wellington.
- In 2019, Stewart Island (Rakiura) was officially recognised as the world’s fifth International Dark Sky Sanctuary, due to its exceptional quality of starry night views and lack of light pollution.
- David Strang, based in Invercargill, invented what is thought to be the very first instant coffee product in the world.
- The Tākitimu Mountains represent the upturned hull of the waka commanded by Chief Tamatea that was wrecked at Te Waewae Bay.
- New Zealand’s first dairy factory was established at Edendale in 1882. Now, Edendale is the site of the world’s largest raw milk-processing plant.
- Ernest Robert Godward, based in Invercargill, invented and patented an egg beater that prepared eggs for a sponge cake in three and a half minutes - previously it had taken 15 minutes.
- Browne Falls in Doubtful Sound is New Zealand’s highest waterfall, Lake Hauroko is New Zealand’s deepest lake and Lake Te Anau has the largest volume of fresh water of any lake in Australasia.
Tick off epic adventures
Here are some must-do adventures for you to tick off while you're in Southland!
- Walk one of New Zealand’s Great Walks
- Eat fresh Bluff Oysters
- Visit Stewart Island
- See a Kiwi in the wild
- Drive on a beach
- Bike a multi-day trail
- See the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)
- Visit the Bluff Signpost
- Take a photo next to a waterfall
- Camp in the wilderness
- Catch a trout
- Experience a glow worm cave
Experience a southern event
BURT MUNRO CHALLENGE
The Burt Munro Challenge is one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. An action packed five days featuring a number of racing disciplines including a hill climb, beach racing, track sprint racing, speedway and street racing, it’s a drawcard for both locals and international visitors.
BLUFF OYSTER & FOOD FESTIVAL
Hosted by the salty seaside township of Bluff, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival is the best place to enjoy the unique flavours of southern fare. Join the locals for a day filled with oyster-opening and eating competitions, live music, and a variety of delicious food and drink.
TUSSOCK COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Attracting music enthusiasts and artists from around the world, the Tussock Country Music Festival is a nine day celebration of country music that encompasses the NZ Country Music Awards, the MLT NZ Gold Guitar Awards, and various concerts and busking competitions throughout the Gore district.
ILT KIDZONE FESTIVAL
Recognised as Southland’s most popular family event, the ILT Kidzone Festival is jam-packed with activities for kids and families to enjoy over the July school holidays. With over 150 hands-on activities, it’s a chance for the creators, constructors, computer whizzes, sport stars and members of the whole family to let their imagination and creative spirits run wild.
MLT HOKONUI FASHION DESIGN AWARDS
As the longest running fashion awards of their type, the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards are a highlight of the national fashion calendar. With the opportunity for amateur designers to showcase their designs in front of a panel of high profile judges, the event attracts entries from throughout New Zealand.
SBS BANK TOUR OF SOUTHLAND
Many of New Zealand’s champion cyclists have competed in the SBS Bank Tour of Southland during their careers. The week-long race transverses most of the Southland region and is considered New Zealand’s premiere multi-stage cycling race.
For more events check out What's On guide here