A city that dates back to the 1850s, the area around Invercargill was first used for sheep grazing by people from the nearby Scottish settlement of Dunedin. Today it’s the largest city in the Southland region but has maintained its warm and friendly charm. Gentle traffic flows down the wide streets graced with elegant Art Deco, Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Take the half-day Invercargill Heritage Trail to wind your way past the most significant sites, including the gorgeous Victoria Railway Hotel, with elements of Victorian, Edwardian and Baroque revival styles, as well as the Civic Theatre, built in the English Renaissance style.
While in town, be sure to make the most of the amazing seafood. You will love the taste of the local oysters, blue cod and crayfish from the pristine waters. Invercargill has plenty of lively bars and restaurants to keep you entertained, as well as some great shopping spots. Check out the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, where you’ll find a 100-and-something-year-old tuatara: a lizard-like reptile whose ancestors existed in the dinosaur age. Also don’t miss the lovely Queens Park, 80 hectares of parklands and gardens that are particularly beautiful in the summer.
If it’s natural heritage that you love, you’re in the right spot. Invercargill is the main departure point for Stewart Island, a great spot for fishing and bushwalking, with beautiful flora and fauna including 20,000 kiwis (the birds, not the locals). Just off Stewart Island, Ulva Island is a unique predator-free open island bird sanctuary home to many rare breeds. The Catlins District is also just a short drive away, packed with rocky coastal bays, deep valleys, towering cliffs and dense forest. The perfect spot for an eco-adventure, keep your eyes peeled here for a Yellow-Eyed Penguin, the rarest penguin in the world. Or if fishing is more your thing, throw in a line at Gore, ‘the brown trout capital of the world’, or the Mataura River.
Invercargill is full of unique New Zealand experiences, from the beauty of the spectacular natural surrounds to the architecture on show. This is a city where you can be shopping one minute, and hiking a trail the next. Don’t miss Invercargill on your New Zealand holiday! Just over two hours from Queenstown, come and explore what’s on offer with our Invercargill accommodation below.
Hotels in Invercargill start at AU$71 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.