1. The Catlins
Your Catlins adventure begins less than 40 minutes drive away from Invercargill! Nothing matches the scenery of the sweeping coastlines and pristine rainforests of The Catlins. The Catlins is home to rare wildlife, including yellow-eyed penguins, New Zealand sea lions and Hector’s dolphins. A highlight of The Catlins is the 180 million-year-old fossilised forest of Curio Bay. Find out more attractions to hit during your road trip in18 Amazing Attractions You Can’t Miss in The Catlins.
Location: Fortrose (start of The Catlins), 35 minutes from Invercargill, Curio Bay – 1h15mins from Invercargill
Discover interesting historical sites and fantastic seafood at the little town of Bluff, just 28km away from Invercargill. Pack your walking shoes and camera for the walking trails on Bluff Hill offering stunning bushwalks, coastal walks and views across the Forveaux Strait to Stewart Island. Check out the international signpost at Stirling Point which marks the end of the country’s main state highway. Plus, don’t miss sampling fresh Bluff Oysters! Get more inspiration from5 Fun Things to Do in Bluffand7 Best Walks in Bluff.
Location: Bluff, 20 minutes from Invercargill
3. Stewart Island
Either fly or take the ferry to the breathtaking Stewart Island. Nature dominates here with 80% of the island being a national park. The island is home to white sand beaches, clear waters, sensational sunsets and unique native bird and plant species. Visit the bird sanctuary Ulva Island or try your luck at some deep sea fishing. Learn more in our10 Incredible Things to Do on Stewart Island.
Location: Stewart Island, 20 -minute flight from Invercargill or a 20-minute drive to Bluff then 1-hour ferry.
4. Western Southland
An awesome road trip awaits along the rugged coastline and lush farmland of Western Southland. Stop by the arty seaside town of Riverton at one of the cafes or excellent museum. If you’re into surfing, don’t miss Colac Bay. Then head north to Tuatapere, the gateway to the southern Fiordland National Park and the Hump Ridge Track. An exciting challenge also awaits at Clifden Cave where you can discover glowworms and limestone features on a self-guided cave scramble. Find out more in our lists in5 Fun Things to Do in Riverton and7 Amazing Things to Do in Tuatapere.
Location: Riverton, 35 minutes from Invercargill & Tuatapere, 1h10mins away from Invercargill
5. Te Anau
As soon as you delve into the Fiordland, it’s instantly obvious why this national park achieves World Heritage Status. Te Anau is one of the main gateways to this pristine wilderness area, indented with 14 fiords. The most famous are Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound which can be explored on bus tours, cruises, scenic flights and more. Apart from visiting the fiords, there are many other activities available from Te Anau, from glowworm cave tours to jet boating. Find out more in our10 Incredible Things to Do in Fiordland National Park.
Location: Te Anau, 1h55mins from Invercargill