The Best Day Trips from Invercargill©
The Best Day Trips from Invercargill

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill šŸš— [2023]


The Top Places to Visit Near Invercargill

You’ve made it all the way to the bottom of the South Island; now what? While Invercargill has some pretty cool attractions within the city, it’s well worth staying a while to make it your base for some epic day trips. Explore The Catlins Coast, fly to Stewart Island, go to the less-visited southern Fiordland National Park and much more. We cover the Southland highlights with this guide to the best day trips from Invercargill.

For more trip-planning wisdom, head over to The Complete Guide to Invercargill.

5 Best Day Tours from Invercargill

Before checking out the self-drive day trips from Invercargill, consider some of the alternative day tours that depart from Invercargill. They take out the hassle and self-driving that comes with organising your own day trip.

Guided Day Tours from Invercargill

  • Stewart Island Big Day Tour with Stewart Island Helicopters (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Stewart Island Flight and Bus Tour with Stewart Island Flights
  • Discover Catlins Coast Tour with Lynette Jack Scenic Sights
  • Fly Fishing Tour with Southland Fly Fishing Guides
  • Fly Fishing Tour with NZ Guided Fly Fishing.

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill© Unsplash

The Catlins

The Best Day Trip from Invercargill for Budget Travellers

Travel time by car: 50 minutes to 2 hours one-way

Leave the city behind and travel east to the rugged coast of The Catlins, which spans between Fortrose and Balclutha. The coast offers stunning waterfall walks, lake walks, cave walks, lighthouse walks, sea lion encounters, penguin encounters… In short, a whole lot of nature!

Start planning your day trip from Invercargill using the 10 Incredible Things to Do in The Catlins.

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill©

Stewart Island

The Best Day Trip from Invercargill for Luxury Travellers

Travel time by car and ferry: 1h20mins one-way
Travel time by flight: 20 minutes one-way

While we always recommend at least staying overnight on Stewart Island, a day trip is certainly doable. Take the ferry or a quick flight to the island, arriving in its only town, Oban. There are short walks to enjoy from the town, while a quick ferry trip to the wildlife sanctuary of Ulva Island is highly recommended.

Find out more about activities on this day trip with the 10 Incredible Things to Do on Stewart Island.

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill© Unsplash

Riverton and Colac Bay

The Best Day Trip from Invercargill for Foodies

Travel time by car: 35 minutes one-way

Invercargill’s neighbouring coastal town has plenty to entice. Visit the revered Te Hikoi Culture Heritage Museum, venture through the forest and a historic goldfield on the Long Hilly Track, and do some of the most southern surfing you’re ever likely to do at Colac Bay. Riverton also has its fair share of quaint cafes.

Learn more about this day trip from Invercargill in the 5 Fun Things to Do in Riverton.

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill©


The Best Day Trip from Invercargill for Families

Travel time by car: 1h10mins one-way

Travel further from Riverton and you’ll come across the town of Tuatapere. This is the southern gateway to the Fiordland National Park and a popular base to sample the Hump Ridge Track – day walk options are available. Nearby is also the free glowworm caves of Clifden Caves, while driving further to Lake Hauroko for hikes and jet boat tours is worth the extra journey.

Check out the 7 Amazing Things to Do in Tuatapere for more information on these experiences.

The Best Day Trips from Invercargill©


The Best Day Trip from Invercargill for Couples

Travel time by car: 45 minutes one-way

This rural town has a quirky character that’s best expressed at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum. On the other hand, Gore also has some surprises between the astonishing African art in the Eastern Southland Gallery and the impressive array of aircraft at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre. Gore is also a go-to for brown trout fishing.

Find out more about Southland’s second-largest town in the 10 Things to Do In and Around Gore.

More About Invercargill Day Trips

That’s it for our guide to the best day trip from Invercargill. For more day trip inspiration, check out the following guides:


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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