Invercargill

Queenspark-gateAbout Invercargill

Invercargill is New Zealand’s southernmost city, the commercial hub of Southland, and has a population of 52,000 people. Invercargill has a large network of parks and gardens near the city centre. There are also many walking and cycling opportunities around the city, not least of which is New Zealand’s only indoor Velodrome. Heritage buildings in the city centre add to its character. Situated near the south entrance to Queens Park, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery is the largest pyramid structure in the southern hemisphere. The i-SITE Visitor Information Centre is located in the foyer of the museum.

 

Dee Street

The water tower

Invercargill Links

Townships in Invercargill

Stewart Island/Rakiura is home to Rakiura National Park, New Zealand’s southern-most National Park. Rakiura is one of the Ma¯ ori names given to the Island, which recalls glowing sunrises, sunsets and the aurora australis or ‘Southern Lights’. View native birds at Ulva Island, enjoy short walks in the native bush around the town or, for longer walking opportunities, try the multiday hikes on the Rakiura Track, North West and Southern circuits. Visit the local Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre for more information. Flights to Stewart Island/Rakiura operate daily from Invercargill Airport, or visitors can take a ferry or helicopter from Bluff.

Bluff is the oldest European town in New Zealand, having been settled continuously since 1824. With a mountain bike track and walking tracks accessible from car parks located at the summit of Bluff Hill, Gunpit Road and Stirling Point – the beginning of SH1 – recreation opportunities are vast. Be sure to visit the Bluff Maritime Museum.

Activities in Invercargill

Sitting amongst sculptured lawns and rose gardens is an historic Georgian-style mansion, now housing an excellent art collection. The large park also features a traditional carved Maori house, duck pond and children’s playground.

2 hr return

Thomsons Bush is a remnant of the mainly kahikatea swamp forest that once covered much of the Southland area. The native vegetation is dominated by kahikatea, black pine/matai and ribbonwood. It provides opportunities for walks and picnics.

The 81 hectare park is recognised as one of New Zealand’s “Gardens of National Significance” and contains a rose garden, winter gardens, children’s play area, aviary, animal enclosures, rhododendron dell, duck ponds, a golf course, café, fitness track and many other features.

This 40m high historic tower is probably the city’s best-known landmark. Completed in 1889, using 300,000 bricks, the tower was Invercargill’s main water supply. Unfortunately, due to concerns about earthquake safety, the Water Tower is no longer open to the public.

This walkway follows the Waihopai River from the Waihopai Dam at the northernmost point, to the Stead Street Bridge at the southernmost point. The entire 15km loop may take 4.5 hours, but it can be enjoyed in sections. The main access points are at Stead Street, North Road, Queens Drive and Racecourse Road.

Sandy Point/Oue is a natural playground 10km west of Invercargill – access is from Dunns Road, Otatara. A 13km network of well-formed signposted walking tracks makes it easy to explore the river banks, estuary and forest. There is a great area of well-marked mountain-biking tracks to suit all skill levels and also a good network of tracks for horse-riding.

The Ma¯ori name for Bluff Hill is Motupohue (motu because of its island-like appearance from the sea, and pohue for the native convolvulus that flowers in the forest). The ‘Hill’ is home to a network of short walks ranging from one to three hours in length. Signs onsite explain options for walking. The summit of Bluff Hill/ Motupohue provides spectacular views out to Foveaux Strait/ Te Ara a Kiwa and across Southland. A visit to Bluff wouldn’t be complete without a photo at the famous signpost at Stirling Point, pointing the way to major cities around the world, and marking the southern end of SH1 which runs the length of New Zealand.

The sweeping sandy expanse of Oreti Beach was the trail used by Ma¯ori travelling between Riverton/Aparima and Sandy Point/Oue. Oreti Beach was the setting for some of Burt Munro’s exploits and features in the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian”. The beach is 30km long and the main vehicle entrance is at the end of Dunns Road, Otatara.

Signposted from SH1, immediately before the Greenpoint Cemetery. A well graded track and boardwalk follows the shoreline to Greenpoint, highlighting features of natural and historic interest that include a ship graveyard.

Registered under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance, the Waituna Lagoon and wetlands is signposted on SH92. It is an important habitat for birds, native fish and trout, and is home to some unusual plants, many of which can be seen during a short walk (1.5 hr return) through the area.

Invercargill Map

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