Mitchells Bay, Riverton
Mitchells Bay, Riverton © Jeremy Pierce


Western Southland has many beaches suitable for swimming, surfing, kayaking, horse riding, and sandcastle building! A particularly special spot is Gemstone Beach, where the surf washes semi-precious gems such as garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite onto the beach for keen explorers to find.

Explore the rugged Western landscape via various walking tracks, such as the Hump Ridge Track, the South Coast Track, the Long Hilly Track, the Big Totara Walk, and the plethora of walking tracks and routes around Borland. Borland also has many mountain biking trails.

Western Southland is home to New Zealand’s deepest lake, Lake Hauroko, and the thrilling Wairaurahiri River, one of the steepest and most remote rivers in New Zealand – both of which can be explored via jet boat tours. To the north, Lake Monowai is the perfect playground for a range of water activities.

The jewel in Western Southland’s crown is the 62km Hump Ridge Track, a three-day walk that takes hikers through diverse and stunning scenery, from subalpine wilderness to sea-level views. While up on the Hump Ridge, the track provides sweeping 360º views of the Southern Alps, coast, and Western Southland. One of the highlights of the track is the Percy Burn Viaduct – thought to be the largest remaining wooden viaduct in the world.

Whether it’s an adrenaline rush jet boating down the Wairaurahiri River, surfing a big wave in one of the spectacular bays, or tramping through some of the most stunning scenery in New Zealand, Western Southland is an ideal base for adventure, with plenty of opportunities for activities such as mountain biking, horse trekking, tramping, surfing, fishing and whitebaiting, hunting, caving and jet boating.