Whether it is birdwatching on Stewart Island, traversing through the wild wetlands of the south, monitoring marine life on the Otago Peninsula or indulging in the local fare served in Dunedin’s fine restaurants, this region presents a host of contrasting experiences.
Much of the landscape remains untouched, only sparsely populated, and it is here that you can discover a castle in Dunedin, dramatic cliffs in the Catlins, and national parks bursting with birdlife.
Along the Southern Scenic Route and the Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail you will be presented with places of historic interest and geological phenomenon – a petrified forest embedded in the coastal bedrock at Curio Bay.
Other delights to explore are the wrought-iron viaducts of the Taieri Gorge and the woodland gardens of the Otago Peninsula. At Bluff, the southern tip, you can sample the renowned Bluff oysters or travel to the demigod Maui’s anchor stone, Stewart Island.
Dunedin and Invercargill
The two cities, Dunedin and Invercargill, are a stark contrast to the wild lands that encase them. Speckled with elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, it is here that you get a sense of how the British settlers must have longed for home, creating for themselves a diminutive version.