Yes, it’s one of the best-kept secrets. So, if you can boast of already knowing about Invercargill, wow! Aren’t you quite the jet-setter! But if you are wondering, where is that? – let us enlighten you. Invercargill is usually described as the westernmost and southernmost city in New Zealand. Apart from the usual splendours that attract travellers, there’re some incredibly unique places to see and things to experience. So let’s get straight to it!
Be mesmerized by the Aurora Australis! (Southern Lights)
It’s galactic magic in the sky! You can witness this insane phenomenon thanks to Invercargill being situated at the very tip of South Island. If you make a visit to the Invercargill city between April – September, you can enjoy the breathtaking effects of Aurora Australis. Take a 1-hour ferry or a 20-minute flight to Steward Island/Rakiura to get the best possible viewing opportunities.
Even if you cannot witness the effects of the solar flare that creates this magic, you can still witness a clear dark sky – transform into a roof of stars, and it’s otherworldly, to say the least.
Take a trip to Bill Richardson’s Transport World!
A 5-minute drive within the city is all that awaits between you and this top-rated attraction. Even if you are not into automobiles, we still reckon you make a visit to this fantastic automotive museum. It’s the largest collection of automobiles you will lay your eyes on while in New Zealand. The layout of the displays is something to marvel at. From cars to trucks to farm machinery and all sorts of classic automobile collections.
You will need a couple of hours to take a good look. A must add to your list of things to Invercargill.
Drive along the Southern Scenic Route!
Whether you are making your way from Te Anau or Dunedin, this route is the one to take. You can do it in a day or even space it out to three – with overnight stops. There’re many fascinating places to stop and enjoy. Visit Curio Bay, go waterfall hiking and don’t forget to take a walk along some stunning beaches, maybe even capture some wild dolphins swimming in the distance.
If you are lucky you might also spot penguins to fur seals & sea lions. It certainly lives up to its name by being one of the most scenic routes set along the South Island. Super beautiful!
Immerse in the magic of nature at Queens Park
If you are not in a mood to hike the lovely lush green slopes set along the southern landscape of Invercargill, then immerse in the verdant haven of Queens Park. It’s another major attraction that’s situated in the heart of the city. Approx. 81 hectares of the green woodland setting featuring some beautiful botanical gardens, an animal reserve and the famous Burt Munro Statue. If you have kids – the water park! Don’t miss it, they just might not forgive you for it.
But if solid tranquillity is your aim, then you can take a long and relaxing stroll, and maybe even indulge in a refreshing picnic! It’s up to you.
A stunning coastal masterpiece – Oreti Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches on the South Island. Nicknamed the ‘Coastal Highway’ Oreti Beach is one of the only beaches in New Zealand that vehicles are allowed on. A real action-packed beach – but shockingly enough It’s actually quite tranquil. Just 20-minutes from Invercargill, New Zealand, you can come here to enjoy 4-wheel driving, horse riding, kayaking, surfing and much more!
It’s also a brilliant spot to enjoy stunning sunsets and stargazing. Visiting Oreti Beach is certainly worth adding to your list of things to do in Invercargill.
Explore the Classic Motorcycle Mecca
The Invercargill City can honestly be known as the capital of the transport world. The Classic Motorcycle Mecca is a testament to this. Another top attraction nestled in the heart of Invercargill, New Zealand. Again, you don’t have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to enjoy this incredible museum that homes an unbelievable collection of motorbikes.
We are talking BMW to Henderson to the incredible Harley Davidsons! It’s truly a sight to behold. Don’t trust my word? See for yourself.
Indulge in Bluff Oysters at the Seafood Festival
Get ready to treat your taste pallets! If you are visiting this enchanting city in the month of May, then you are in for a REAL Seafood Festival experience – it’s one of the most awaited festivals in the Invercargill and maybe even South Island. Perfect time to indulge in an oyster feast – especially the Bluff oyster. It’s the BEST way to familiarize yourself with the southland flavours.
And the flavour adventure doesn’t end there. You can also relish in fresh Scallops, Salmon, Blue Cod and Whitebait – it’s one crazy seafood galore!
Discover the historical Invercargill Water Tower
This is an iconic landmark. It was constructed in the 20th Century and you will find this striking water tower standing tall next to Otakaro Park. The Victorian-style architectural design definitely adds to the ancient allure. If you miss a visit during the day, then try at night, since the tower is lit up. The cool thing about this architectural treasure is that you can spot it from all around the town.
Experience the tranquil beauty of Stewart Island – Half-Moon Bay
Whether you take a ferry or flight, a visit to Stewart Island is a must. Tranquil and beautiful. The famous and super scenic Half-moon Bay lies on the east coast of Stewart Island. Here you can explore the small fishing fleet, the Bluff dock, and a collection of the most magnifique beaches. Honestly, it’s a coastal paradise and camping under stars is the best way to enjoy Stewart Island and all its otherworldly beauty.
Indulge in creamy cheese rolls at the Southern Farmers Market
The best way to check out the local scene is to visit the Farmer’s market. The Southern Farmers Market is an incredibly eventful place. It’s live and active on Sundays at the Invercargill Railway Station – Leven Street. We are talking local fruits and vegetable growers, local artisan food production, and local crafts!
See if you can get hold of your local favourite – the southland cheese rolls. This oozy-gooey snack is one of the best the Southland region has to offer. It’s basically a combination of cheddar cheese, finely chopped onion, evaporated milk, French onion soup mix and white bread! I mean can you really go wrong with that?
Witness the mystical sunsets at the Waipapa Point Lighthouse
Get ready to behold the coastal sceneries and the most enchanting sunsets at the Waipapa Point Lighthouse. Take an approx. 1-hour drive further south to the very tip, just 30 minutes from the Curio Bay. One of the coolest things about this lighthouse apart from the heavenly sceneries surrounding it is the lighthouse itself.
Built-in 1884, it is one of the last standing wooden lighthouses in New Zealand. You will get plenty of sightings of sea lions during your tour of the lighthouse. But no matter what time you go, please don’t miss that insanely beautiful sunset – once you witness that, it will change you.