Immerse yourself in the powerful scenery of a region that has well and truly shaped its scarce population.
The very South of the South Island is a collection of people and landscapes you won’t find anywhere else: Rugged coastline, warm and colourful locals, lush rainforest and wildlife up close.
Visit a petrified forest, step back in time on Stewart Island, discover Southern hospitality and culinary delights in Invercargill and follow a distinct road that will reveal a glorious coastal stretch of unmatched beauty.
The combination of friendly locals, serene surroundings and wide open spaces is a great opportunity to find kinship - and to restore the soul.
The Catlins, hidden on the east coast of Southland, provides a myriad of adventures, from the beauty of sweeping beaches and towering cliffs to the history of a petrified forest and an ancient lighthouse. It is a place of natural wonder, where sea lions and dolphins frolic in the waves, seals bask on the rocks and penguins build their nests. Walking tracks are located throughout The Catlins, giving the visitor a chance to explore the ancient podocarp forests with their hidden waterfalls, quiet lakes and native birdlife.
Spend your day exploring and being amazed by natural wonder. Stop often. Enjoy short walks and take the best photos of your holiday!
Nugget Point/Tokata Lighthouse: Lighthouse built in 1869. Fur seals, breeding area for yellow eyed penguins. 20 minutes return walk.
Purakaunui Bay: Attractive Beach. DOC campsite and picnicking.
Lake Wilkie: Reflective and peaceful. 30 minutes return walk.
Cathedral Caves: The caves resonate with the sound of the sea. 1 hour return walk. 20 minutes bush and beach walk.
McLean Falls: 40 minutes return.
Jack’s Blowhole: 1 hour return walk to deep blowhole 200 metres from the sea.
Niagara Falls: Short walk to one of the world’s smallest waterfalls.
Curio Bay/Petrified Forest: You will find an ancient geological phenomenon of international significance - the Petrified Forest.
Accommodation: Mohua Park Forest Eco Cottages, Owaka
Experience The Catlins at your own pace and in a comfortable, safe and eco-friendly cottage, fully equipped with all you need. There are 4 individual private cottages located on the edge of our 8 hectare native forest covenant.
Today continue exploring the Catlins before making your way to Invercargill Airport. Park your car and travel by shuttle bus to Bluff (approx. 30 min).
Cross Foveaux Strait on board an express catamaran.
During the one-hour crossing between Bluff and Stewart Island keep a lookout for wildlife, especially seabirds.
Stewart Island: This unique offers a special experience - a glimpse into a simpler, slower lifestyle, in rhythm with the sea and the tides, attuned to the natural world of bush and beach. Rakiura National Park comprises 85% of the island.
Accommodation: Stewart Island Lodge B&B
Relax and unwind in one of our 6 sumptuous king/twin bedrooms. Every room has a stunning outlook and opens directly onto an expansive shared balcony. The lodge’s terrace offers sweeping views of the gardens and ocean beyond, providing an idyllic place for contemplation and relaxation. During cooler weather, relax in the communal guest lounge and admire the vistas over the bay.
Today your island adventure starts with a trip to Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary. Your guide will provide you with a unique experience, learning about native flora and fauna from a Maori and local Stewart Island perspective. After your return to Stewart Island, you have time for a small lunch (at own expense), before boarding your bus for the Village & Bays Tour, a one hour and thirty minute tour of Oban and the surrounding bays.
Travelling in modern mid-sized coaches, there is a comprehensive commentary by a local guide providing an insight into Stewart Island’s community, history and environment.
Highlights include the Rakiura National Park entrance at Lee Bay, Halfmoon and Horseshoe Bays and views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock.
Movie time! Upon return to Oban make your way to the Bunkhouse Theatre for ‘A Local’s Tail’, drinks and nibbles. A Local’s Tail introduces local characters, community colour and the struggles and triumphs of the island pioneers - past and present. This delightful, quirky 40 minute film answers the myriad of questions visitors have about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of Stewart Island. The film lets you browse through the island’s history and gives you a tour of the whole island from the big screen comfort of the Bunkhouse Theatre, guided by a local dog - Lola.
Accommodation: Stewart Island Lodge B&B
This morning fly from Stewart Island to Invercargill and collect your car at the airport. Take a short drive from the airport to Transport World (entry included). Reputedly the largest collection of its type in the world, Bill Richardson iconic Transport World showcases over 300 trucks, 150 petrol bowsers, a world class Henry Ford collection, VW Kombis, motoring memorabilia, wearable arts and many interactive displays. Not just for car enthusiasts – be amazed!
At Transport World you will also have the opportunity to enjoy lunch (own cost) before you arrive at your accommodation.
Meet your hosts and freshen up for your afternoon tour.
Take a few hours to explore Invercargill’s Treasures. Lynette Jack Scenic Sights will show you the region from a local’s view point. During this personalised private tour you will experience the historic city of Invercargill and try some of the iconic food and beverage tastes of the south of the South Island:
Invercargill: Visitors come to admire the elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, gardens and landscaped parks. The town is also a gateway to the beauty of this most southern coast of New Zealand. Invercargill is built around beautiful Queens Park - 80 hectares of gardens, wildlife and sporting fun.
Invercargill Brewery: Invercargill Brewery’s flavoursome beers and ciders are consistent award winners both home and abroad. Head brewer Steve Nally has a reputation for innovation, combining home-grown ingredients with traditional beer styles to create distinctly New Zealand brews like Pitch Black Stout, Wasp Honey Pilsner and B.man, a New Zealand strong pilsner.
Savour the South: Southland is not a place to be ‘shellfish’, especially being the home of the world renowned Bluff Oyster. You may get an opportunity to savour this delicacy (seasonal, not included in cost).
Seriously Good Chocolate: Unique flavoured chocolates too good to be true.
E Hayes & Sons: A great traditional hardware shop this is also the home of the original Indian owned by Burt Munro. E Hayes & Sons holds an extensive collection of Burt Munro memorabilia, photographs, and information about this legendary Southlander.
Accommodation: The Lodge at Transport World Invercargill
The Lodges At Transport World are Invercargill’s newest accommodation, offering six boutique apartment units that are unique, spacious and packed full of supreme comfort. Permanent onsite managers Graeme and Esther provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere and ensure every guest receives superb personal attention. Easy to find they are conveniently located directly across the road from Bill Richardson Transport World.
Today is all about the beauty of the roaring Southern Ocean and the captivating scenery of Western Southland. Explore this remote part of the country at
your own pace. Stunning coastlines follow the road from Riverton to Tuatapere in Western Southland. Riverton, one of the oldest towns in New Zealand, is a seaside haven with safe swimming beaches and peaceful walks, superb cafés to while away the hours and a rich local history.
Drive round to the ‘rocks’, and you will have great views of Stewart Island in the distance. Just around the coast is Colac Bay, home to some of the best surfing in the south and part of the Riverton Heritage Trail.
Monkey Island is an interesting place for a short walk out to the island (low tide), exploring the rock pools, or the long uncrowded beach is perfect for horse riding, motorbike or kite bugging.
McCrackens Rest is a lookout and rest area on the Southern Scenic Route overlooking Te Wae Wae Bay. Perched on the edge of the cliff you can enjoy commanding views out to sea, right across the bay to the hump ridge and mountains beyond. One of those places everyone must pause their journey to take a moment to take in the views.
Find historic spots like the bridge at Clifden and interesting side routes to remoter and beautiful areas like Lake Hauroko and Lake Monowai.
Clifden Caves: Explore the limestone caves and view the stalactites and glow worms within this rare Southland cave system. The Clifden Caves are one of only a few cave systems in Southland.
On arrival in Te Anau, you continue with the remainder of your itinerary.