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Southland's Best Beaches

Southland features many gorgeous coastal outlooks and excellent beaches for all kinds of recreational activities. Here are some of the best stops on your southern journey to experience Southland's best beaches!

Southland is framed by many unique beach locations that every traveller should visit! There is a beach for all; whether you are looking for lakeside boat action, a wicked swell for surfers, sun for your tan, safety for the children's sandcastles, or epic views for photography - Southland has them all. To name the best is tough - so here are a couple to wet your toes.

Steamer's Beach in Te Anau is a lakefront beach that is excellent for relaxing on or accessing the lake for kayaking, swimming or even water skiing.

Mitchell's Bay in Riverton is a famous ice cream stop with a safe beach for swimming, body boarding and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).

The beaches of Ulva Island are golden sandy walkways often frequented by the local native bird life. One of the most remote beaches is Mason Bay, on the west coast of Stewart Island, accessed either by charter boat, beach landing or hiking on the magnificent Rakiura Track.

Curio Bay in the Catlins is a local's favourite for swimming, and it's not just the family who loves to swim here; the rare Pahu Hectors Dolphins also frequent this bay, and on top of that, it also features a prehistoric petrified forest.

Southland's top beaches must include the gorgeous Taramea Bay in Riverton. With its sweeping golden shoreline and beautiful hot summer weather, it's no wonder this piece of the southern coast is a local and tourist favourite. In Taramea Bay, you can swim, surf, bask in the hot sun on a nice day, and so much more!

Another great beach to visit is Gemstone Beach in Orepuki. Gemstone Beach, named for your chances of finding a semi-precious stone on the shore, is unique because it is known for its constant change from sand to rock with the storms and tides. This shoreline fact, combined with the great waves for surfing, makes Gemstone Beach a must-stop location for any traveller.

Finally, no list could exclude the famous Oreti Beach in Invercargill. At 26 kilometres, Oreti is one of Southland's most extensive easy-access coastlines. It hosts the Burt Munro Challenge and is an excellent beach for swimming, surfing, kayaking and sandcastle building. What makes this one of Southland's best beaches is the ability to drive onto it and the on-sand activities such as horse riding and four-wheel driving. It is just a 15-minute drive from Invercargill, which has your traveller. Make Oreti Beach your first beach stop in Southland!