Motupōhue / Bluff
Southland’s port, Bluff, Motupōhue, lies thirty kilometres south of Invercargill. The town, which is the southernmost settlement on mainland New Zealand, is home to the iconic Bluff Oyster & Food Festival and is the “Gateway to Stewart Island” via a twice-daily ferry service.
The area has been permanently occupied since the establishment of a whaling station in 1836. Originally named Campbelltown, the local moniker “Bluff” (in reference to the prominent 265m conical hill which the township nestles beside) became the town’s official name in 1917. As one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand, Bluff has a rich history and many interesting attractions. It also offers many wonderful short walks, both bush and coastal, that showcase the stunning scenery and views.
The most-photographed spot in Bluff is the famous signpost at Stirling Point, which is a highlight for any visitor to the South. The signpost points out distances to major cities around the world and marks the beginning of State Highway 1, New Zealand’s main highway which traverses the whole length of the country all the way to Cape Reinga in the far north.
For its small size, Bluff has a surprisingly wide range of affordable accommodation, including hotels, motels, holiday homes, B&B’s, a camping ground and a backpackers.
Bluff is seafood central. Many varieties of quality fish and shellfish are gathered from the surrounding ocean and can be enjoyed in local restaurants and cafes, including rock lobster, blue cod, and of course - oysters!
The network of walking tracks at Bluff Hill are a nature lover’s delight, with abundant native birdlife and flora, much of which is rare except on island sanctuaries.
Bluff was an important site of cross-cultural encounter in the first half of the nineteenth century, with early European settlers and local Māori trading and living in close proximity.