Walking Trails in Invercargill
Invercargill is an amazing city to stretch your legs. There are a surprising array of landscapes accessible from within the city, from bushwalks to river walks. If you’re willing to drive further afield, you’ll find some stunning reserves with short walks giving you something fresh to see around Invercargill in the Southland region. Check out our recommendations for some of the best walks in Invercargill in the list below!
While you’re here, you might also like 5 Invercargill Must-Dos and 11 Free or Cheap Things to do in Invercargill.
1. Otepuni Walkway (30 Minutes One Way)
This picturesque walk goes through the Otepuni Gardens and alongside the Otepuni Creek. Follow a paved walkway, which is mostly on top of a flood bank giving elevated views of the surrounding city. The walkway takes you through the first city park in Invercargill, Otepuni Park and continues along the creek. The walk is approximately 3.8km (2.4 miles) taking around 30 minutes to complete.
Location: Rockdale Road to Clyde Street
2. Seaward Bush Walk (20-30 Minutes Loop)
Enjoy a pleasant bushwalk along a track that forms a figure of eight through the Seaward Bush Reserve. You’ll walk through thriving regenerating forest consisting of kamahi and tree ferns. Read about the history on the numerous interpretation panels. Learn more about this reserve in 5 Glorious Reserves & Parks in Invercargill.
Location: Mason Road
3. Invercargill Estuary Walkway (30-40 Minutes Loop)
Discover Pleasure Bay Lagoon and its rich history and ecosystem on this 4.7km (3-mile) walkway around the lagoon. The loop walk here can be walked or cycled. Additionally, there is a shorter walk to a viewpoint over the estuary.
Location: Stead Street Wharf car park and Bond Street
4. Waihopai Walkway (4h30mins Loop)
Connecting to the Invercargill Estuary Walkway, the Waihopahi Walkway is a 15km (9-mile) loop walk along the banks of the Waihopai River. It offers a pleasant easy-gradient walk that takes approximately 4h30min to complete. Alternatively, you can make it as short as you like by using the many access points to the walk. The walkway also links up well with the Thomsons Bush Reserve (see below).
Location: Stead Street Wharf, North Road, Queens Drive, Racecourse Road or Bainfield Road.
5. Sandy Point Domain (5 Minutes to 45 Minutes One Way)
One of the most popular recreational areas in Invercargill, Sandy Point Domain holds a spectacular network of walking trails. There are approximately 13.5km (8.4 miles) of trails to choose from, all of which are well sign-posted. Highlights include Hatch’s Hill Lookout (5 minutes one way) offering panoramic views of the New River Estuary, Bluff and all the way out to Stewart Island; Daffodil Bay to Hatch’s Hill (45 minutes one way) offering estuary views and native forest walks; and Petrie’s Track (20 minutes one way) which is an open walk through a pine plantation.
Location: Sandy Point Road
6. Thomsons Bush (30-40 Minutes Loop)
This stunning forest area provides some of the best native bush in the city. The Thomsons Bush Reserve has around 3.5km of trails in a 33ha (82-acre) area containing trees like matai, kahikatea and ribbonwood. There are plenty of options to link trails together for walking that takes up to 30-40 minutes. You can also extend your walk on the connecting Waihopai Walkway (see above).
Location: Queens Drive
7. Otatara Scenic Reserve (20-30 Minutes Loop)
Walk this bushwalk loop track through the Otatara Scenic Reserve. Tui and fantails are a common sight in the forest, made up of totara, matai, lemonwood, rimu and pakaka.
Location: Dunns Road or Awarua Road
8. Omaui Reserve (20 Minutes Loop)
This fascinating reserve is steeped in Maori and European history which is told on the interpretation panels on display throughout the reserve. Walk along a short loop track to discover the regenerating coastal forest. There is an elevated platform along the way offering excellent views of the Invercargill Estuary and Sany Point.
Location: 221 Mokomoko Road
9. Greenpoint Reserve (15-20 Minutes One Way)
This reserve just off the highway on the way to Bluff has some interesting features. Check out the ship graveyard, as well as wading birds using the area as an important habitat. Along the shoreline walk, you’ll get excellent views of the Bluff Harbour.
Location: 2392 Bluff Highway, Greenpoint
10. Bluff Hill
In Bluff, Bluff Hill has a whole network of walking trails in a range of vegetation, along the shoreline and on top of the hill with tremendous views across the Forveux Strait. Find out more about these walks in 7 Best Walks in Bluff.
Location: Stirling Point, Bluff