Best lookout spots in Southland

Florence Hill Lookout - The Catlins
Chris McLennan

Southland has a diverse landscape with its rugged cliff beaches in the Catlins to the lush native forests in Western Southland. Whether you are after incredible vistas of beaches, wildlife, mountains or National Parks, stopping at one of our lookout spots will only enhance your view of Southland.  

Florence Hill Lookout - The Catlins
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Florence Hill Lookout along the Southern Scenic Route

Roadside Scenic Views

Three kilometres out of Papatowai, a short gravel road leads to sweeping Tautuku Bay, which can be viewed from on high at the Florence Hill Lookout. The glow isn't your imagination, it's the quartz content of the sand. 

The perfect place to pause in your journey to take in the scenery and fresh air, and of course to take the classic traveller's photo in front of the McCracken's Rest signpost. Highlights include views of Sand Hill Point, the Hump Ridge, Pahia Point and Stewart Island - you may even catch a glimpse of New Zealand’s largest pod of Hector’s Dolphins!  

Lake Hauroko Track - Western Southland - Megan Seator
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The view at the top of the Lake Hauroko Track - Western Southland

Take a Hike

This steep tramping track climbs from the edge of Lake Hauroko to a lookout with great views over the lake and nearby mountain ranges. The hike is well worth the effort as on a clear day there are stunning views of Lake Hauroko, Foveaux Strait to the south, the Takitimu Mountains to the east, and the Princess and Kaherekoau Mountains in the northwest.

Part of Mores Scenic Reserve, this easy 45-minute return walk track offers stunning views over Riverton/Aparima on one side and the southern coastline on the other.

One highlight of the Hump Ridge is the loop track at the top of the sub-alpine Hump Ridge range that winds around soaring limestone tors and offers marvellous panoramic views of south-west Fiordland, the rugged southern coastline, and Stewart Island

Take in the 360-degree views of lower Southland at Bluff Lookout, get your photo taken at the iconic Stirling point signpost and walk the Foveaux Walkway along the coastal side of Bluff Hill/Motupōhue while gazing out over Foveaux Strait. 

Nugget Point - The Catlins
NZ Pocket Guide

Cliffside Views

Walk the rugged coastline 100 metres above the heaving ocean and look down to see seal pups playing in their sheltered rock pools. Nugget Point Lighthouse suddenly appears around the headland contrasted sharply against the sky. From the lighthouse viewing platform you can observe thousands of sea birds circling around the rock nuggets and diving through tunnels that have been a menace to ships for over 150 years.

Feel the wind on your face and gaze out to sea at the southernmost point of the South Island: Slope Point. Just know that standing here means you're only 4000km from Antartica.

Central Southland
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Central Southland

Go inland Southland and get up high. Southland from about the skyline offers some spectacular rural scenic views. Poppelwells lookout in Dolarmore Park provides amazing views of the Southland Plains and on a clear day you can even see Stewart Island/ Rakiura. Forest Hill Scenic Reserve is a valuable example of a remnant of New Zealand native forest surrounded by developed agricultural land. Glenure Allan Reserve is a ten-minute walk that offers wonderful views over Eastern Southland. For more experienced hikers, Eyre Mountains/Taka Ra Haka Conservation Park offers challenging but well worth it climbing opportunities, including Eyre Peak at 1969m and Jane Peak at 2022m. 

Scenic View Locations