A quarter of Southland’s land area is protected as part of the Fiordland and Rakiura national parks, and conservation and sustainability projects are key regional activities.
The largest city is Invercargill, a stop-off point on the Southern Scenic route with Scottish heritage. Invercargill offers legendary southern hospitality and a base to explore beautiful wild destinations like the Catlins coast and Curio Bay.
Bluff, a fishing port south of Invercargill, is famous for its oysters - a traditional New Zealand delicacy harvested from the chilled waters of the southern ocean. Southlanders celebrate the oyster season in May with the annual Bluff oyster and seafood festival.
Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third largest island and a haven for native bird life such as the iconic kiwi, kereru (native wood pigeon), bellbird, tui and rare saddleback. It lies on the other side of Foveaux Strait, a short ferry ride from Bluff.