How to Enjoy Invercargill on a Budget
Discover the secrets of the world’s southernmost city. Does it get any more enticing than that? Southland is known for its quirky farm towns, which has Invercargill, a city of Scottish heritage, as its main hub. The quirkiness reflects in the architecture to the forgotten “world” that has been brought back to life by the locals. With all this, just having a wander around the city is a free yet interesting thing to do. We have all the best points and free things to do in Invercargill in this listicle!
Invercargill’s natural history is fascinating too, with one of its “living dinosaurs” still live and kickin’ in the local museum. Plus, there are heaps of walks across long-stretching beaches, dunes, boardwalks and lagoons. Alternatively, explore by bike in this extremely flat city providing an easy-breezy ride. You can even find a mountain bike park to test your skills.
So read on to find the free things to do in Invercargill (or extremely cheap)! Plus, don’t miss 5 Invercargill Must-Dos.
1. Wander Around Demolition World – CHEAP
Is this village a stroke of genius or just a bit creepy? You decide. The most popular demolition company of Southland has a secret: a small village created out of their scavengers’ treasures. It is a great way to revisit the past of a remote region. The displays are so unique, in fact, that it has been featured in films, TV shows and magazines all over the world. The attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on our free things to do in Invercargill listicle!
Location: 290 Bain Street, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Invercargill city centre.
2. Visit the Water Tower – FREE
The 40-metre (131-foot) high tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. This stunning Victorian brick building may only be used as a back-up water tower to the city, but it is still mainly a tourist attraction. Take the time to walk around the tower and admire what 300,000 bricks can build.
Location: Water Tower Reserve, off Gala Street, Doon Street and Queens Drive, approximately 1.5km (1 mile) from Invercargill city centre.
3. Get the Perfect Picture of the Victoria Railway Hotel – FREE
The Victoria Railway Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in New Zealand to be still used as a hotel. The building features elements from many styles of architecture, including Victorian and Baroque. It is simply a stunning piece of architecture, reminiscent of the famous Dunedin Railway Station. More historic hotels can be found around the city including one that we mention in 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Invercargill.
Location: 3 Leven Street, Invercargill city centre.
4. Explore Queens Park – FREE
The huge park covers over 30 hectares (80 acres) of Invercargill city centre. It is surrounded by the city’s most popular landmarks like the water tower and the Southland Museum [Update: The Southland Museum has closed]. Many flower gardens add a touch of colour to the native bush walkways. The winter garden features exotic plants, the Japanese garden takes you back to the Northern Hemisphere, and the rock garden is a curiosity of its own.
Location: Multiple access points along Queens Drive, Gala Street, Kelvin Street, Park Street and Victoria Avenue, approximately 1km (0.6 miles) from Invercargill city centre.
5. Unwind in the Otepuni Gardens – FREE
Along the small Otepuni Stream you will found a small peaceful park. The extremely polished garden stretches across both sides of the stream an offer tranquil picnic spots for those who want to forget that they are in a city.
Location: Multiple access points along Tyne Street, Forth Street, Conon Street and Ythan Street, approximately 1km (0.6 miles) from Invercargill city centre.
6. Spend an Afternoon in Oreti Beach – FREE
Named after the Oreti River, the long flat beach seems almost endless, stretching as far as the eyes can see. For those in need of a challenge, try the Oreti Beach Track. This 32km (20-mile) track takes in streams, dunes and a low tide beach before ending on Stead Street. We also list this activity in the 10 Things to Do in Invercargill with Kids.
Location: Access at the end of Dunns Road and Foveux Street, approximately 10km (6 miles) from Invercargill city centre.
7. Mountain Bike at Sandy Point – FREE
The popular biking spot is only a few minutes away from the city. Don’t be fooled by its “beachy” name, Sandy Point is a thick pine forest that features mostly grade 3 mountain biking tracks. Find out more in Mountain Biking in Southland.
Location: Sandy Point Domain Visitor Centre – Sandy Point Road, approximately 8km (5 miles) from Invercargill city centre.
8. Walk the Estuary Walkway – FREE
The 1-hour return track is the best way to discover the aptly named, Pleasure Bay Lagoon. Harbouring many local birds and featuring a rich human history, this 4.7km (3-mile) track is a core part of the history of the area. Plus, with the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other, you’ll get a unique point of view of the city.
Location: Eastern end of Stead Street, approximately 1.5km (1 mile) from Invercargill city centre.
9. Bike the Invercargill Heritage Trail – FREE
There’s plenty of biking to be had in Invercargill (and Southland in general so be sure to read Mountain Biking in Southland). Pick up a Heritage Trail map from your local i-SITE and bike to 18 points of interest that will help you discover the rich history of the area. You will get to visit most of the points on this listicle and more.
Location: Start anywhere.
[CLOSED] Visit the Southland Museum – FREE
The pyramid-shaped museum houses the best of Southland’s art. The natural history exhibition retraces the wildlife evolution from Jurassic to modern species, the highlight being the tuatara described as the “living dinosaur”. You can see New Zealand’s oldest tuatara right here in the Southland Museum. For a bit of social history, the Maori Gallery has a wealth of artefacts incredibly well carved to tell local Maori legends.
Location: Gala Street
Now You Have Found Some Free Things to Do in Invercargill …
… Check out more fun things to do in and around Invercargill.