Sprinkled amongst beautiful rolling farmland and the majestic Takitimu Mountains, Northern Southland is home to the rural townships of Lumsden, Athol, Garston, Mossburn and Kingston where there is no shortage of southern high country hospitality. With some of the premier cycling trails and mountain bike tracks in the country, riders can meander through high country farms, scenic lakes, rivers, forests and diverse landscapes in Northern Southland. The fact that Southland boasts the second-largest proportion of recreational cyclists of any region speaks volumes about the wealth of roads and tracks criss-crossing southern terrain.
Welcome Rock Trails prides itself on being a premier private hiking and mountain biking trail that offers historical and ecological guidance. Here you will find a hand built trail located within remote, native, high country farmland that is cloaked in stunning scenery. It has rustic huts along the trail with the perfect tub to soak in after a hard days work overlooking the Eyre Valley.
The backbone of the Southland economy is the farming sector and Real Country is a great agricultural experience that has been a hit with visitors. Real Country has live farm demonstrations where you can interact with the (very cute & friendly) animals on the farm – from sheep to horses, they even have a pig named Barry and a number of alpacas that are no strangers to affection from the many visitors they get!
The diverse waters of Northern Southland provide ample opportunity for fly fishing and with 150km of fresh running river stretching through the region there is space for many anglers to vie for a daily catch but many guides will tell you the upper Mataura holds a larger population of brown trout. Closely to Winton a walk up Forest Hill provides a more leisurely pursuits and gives a rewarding view of the farmlands across Central Southland, the heritage trail which takes in historic townships and treasures left by the region’s pioneers gives a glance of another time.
The glistening silver body of the Coffee Bomb is like a mecca to a coffee lover passing through Garston and their Bacon & Egg Muffin is a legendary comfort item to warm the belly. Route 6 Café in Lumsden is an American Diner inspired café serving up famous burgers with a side of Southern Hospitality. For those looking for a sweet hit the bakery in Winton is worth a stop, they have an array of mouth-watering treats.
With rolling farmlands dominating the landscape across Northern Southland there is no surprise that rustic farmstays are a popular choice when considering accommodation. Five Rivers Retreat is situated on Kotahi Farm, a 700-acre working farm in the heart of Northern Southland. Historic buildings have been commonly repurposed as accommodation properties like the Royal Mail Hotel in Lumsden; a self-prescribed quaint hotel with excellent facilities for a weary traveller or stay at The Bank Manager's Apartment a beautifully-appointed spacious Art Deco apartment in the heart of Central Southland.