Soul Time in Southland

lumsdenSouthland is as it's name implies the southern most region of New Zealand and is the place to visit if you'd like to get away from it all.

Bounded by Otago to the north, and comprising of the Catlins Forest park in the east. The towns of Balclutha, Clinton, Gore and Mataura.  Invercargill is Southland's capital with a wide range of facilities and activities and it's situated near the central southern coast.

Further west encounter Winton, Riverton Tuatapere, Mossburn, Manapuri and Te Anau, a base for exploring the spectacular Fiordland National Park or driving up to Milford Sound.

Southland's key attractions include
Stewart Island, the Catlins and the Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand's most diverse touring route. Trout Fishing, walking, eco tours. Discover the majestic beauty of the jagged Fiordland mountains and the rugged southern coast.
Explore New Zealand native bush rolling to the water's edge or stroll down a white sandy beach and enjoy peace and solitude. Meander through the colourful coastal fishing villages and seaside settlements. Venture down side roads, and find places to view wildlife. Stay overnight along the way, meet local people and find out what we mean by 'southern hospitality'.

Uncover the ancient secrets of this land which has been occupied by Maori for hundreds of years and observe the natural features of the environment that led Ngai Tahu, as the people of the land, down the same pathways you will travel. Image right; fishing boats in Bluff sunset.

Majestic Milford Sound draws you to Te Anau, at one end of the Southern Scenic Route. Visitors are always captivated by the splendour of Mitre Peak and the beauty of the remote fiords.

Southland is an area with a huge diversity of walks, from short walks to multi-day treks. The walks can either be undertaken unguided or guided. The main walks in Southland are listed below.

Hump Ridge Trackhump_bridge

Covering 53 kilometres of contrasting landscapes, lowland coastal Waitutu Podocarp forests and sub-alpine tussock, the track involves a three day/two night walking experience.
Situated in southern Fiordland, the track incorporates part of the existing South Coast Track and includes such wildlife as seals, Hector's dolphins and keas. The area is also rich in history for both Maori and European cultures.
A key attraction is the recently restored famous Percy Burn Viaduct, and Edwin, Sandhill and Francis Burn Viaducts. The four viaducts are still used by trampers to provide access across ravines through Waitutu Incorporation lands between Port Craig and the Fiordland National Park south coast area. The Percy Burn Viaduct is the largest surviving wooden viaduct in the world.

Stewart Island
New Zealand's next National Park, is a unique remnant of natural New Zealand. A smörgåsbord of unspoilt inlets, bush clad hills, rugged coastline, swampy valleys and dramatic granite outcrops. Podocarp and kamahi forest dominate the island. Kiwi, kaka and parakeets are found in relative abundance.

Short walks:

There is a range of short walks from 1/2 hour to 4 hours around Halfmoon Bay. The walks provide breath taking views of bays around Halfmoon Bay, forest and mountains.

Long walks:
Rakiura Track: 29 km, 2 nights/3 days. The track requires moderate fitness, providing a good introduction to Stewart Island. The circuit follows open coast, climbs over a 300 minute high forested ridge, and traverses the sheltered shores of Paterson Inlet. It passes sites of historical interest and introduces many of the common sea and forest birds of the island.

North West Circuit: 125 km, 10 -12 days. The North West Circuit provides a challenging tramp around the island's northern coast. The track is suitable for experienced and well-equipped trampers.

The Catlins is a State Forest Park situated in eastern Southland. It has spectacular coastal scenery, with rocky headlands, sandy bays and estuaries. The distinctive ridges of the Catlins are covered in rimu, kamahi and silver beech forest. Yellow-eyed penguins nest in pockets of coastal forest, and seals, sealions and Hector's dolphins are commonly seen.
Short walks:
The Catlins is an area which encompasses a wealth of short walks with waterfalls, beaches and bush walks as well as a petrified forest. Wildlife such as seals, sealions, Hector's dolphins and penguins can be viewed on many of the remote beaches in the Catlins.

Trout Fishing

The Southland region abounds with numerous quality fishing rivers, streams and lakes. In fact from Invercargill, Southland's capital city, there are 27 excellent fishing rivers and streams within 2 hours' easy driving.

Boasting a worldwide reputation, the Mataura River is one of the best brown trout fishing rivers in the world. This is due to the fact that it has the highest population and catch rates of any river in New Zealand. It is also famous for its hatches and spinner falls and is the best ‘match the hatch' fishing in New Zealand.

Whilst Southland's fishing is often described as a 'dry fly Mecca' and has an international reputation for the quality of it's brown trout, fishing in Southland offers more than just freshwater fishing.

Sea Fishing
Sea fishing and diving opportunities abound, particularly around the color="#800080" Stewart Island and Fiordland areas. There are many charter boats that will take visitors around the waters of Stewart Island for an exciting day of fishing. With a vast selection of fish available, the local favourite would have to be the succulent Blue Cod. As well as sea-fishing there are also opportunities to dive for crayfish and paua, more commonly known overseas as lobster and abalone.
So whether you want to fish for brown trout or try your luck at the open sea, Southland has everything a fisherman or woman would ever need.

Southland's Wildlife
Southland is home to a large variety of native wildlife such as kiwi, albatross, yellow-eyed and Fiordland crested penguins, Hooker's sea lions, parakeets, Hector's dolphins and southern right whales. In fact, Southland offers some of New Zealand's most accessible wildlife.

Southland's islands are important sanctuaries for threatened native species: Kakapo and Short Tailed Bats on Codfish island and South Island Saddlebacks on the Titi islands and Ulva Island off Stewart Island.
The Subantarctic Islands are internationally renowned nature reserves and home to many rare and unique nature reserves and species which are accessible by permit.

Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Area and one of the largest such parks in the world, covering 1,210,000 hectares. It is renowned for rugged mountains and fiords, vast forests and alpine areas, and an abundance of native wildlife. The park offers an incredible range of recreational activities. Walks, tracks and routes crisscross the park, including the world-famous Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, and Hump Ridge Tracks.

The Awarua Wetlands: located south of Invercargill, comprise the largest area of protected wetlands in southern New Zealand. They support a variety of vegetation types – estuarine and salt marsh communities, cushion bogs, red tussock grasslands, shrublands and forest. Some unusual plant associations include species otherwise only found in alpine and sub alpine-levels. The Wetlands are a good place to observe many wading bird species.

The Longwood Range dominates the landscape around Riverton, Otautau, Orepuki and east Tuatapere. They are a popular place for red deer and pig hunting, walking, tramping and picnicking. Once the focus for gold mining and timber milling activities, the Longwoods are today conserved for their scenic, historic, wildlife and recreational values.

The Mavora Lakes: off the Mossburn - Te Anau road, are set among picturesque mountains, beech forest and grasslands. The park is a great place for walking, tramping, fishing, horse trekking and mountain biking. Good populations of bush robins are found in the forest and falcons are often seen above the bushline.

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park.


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