Southland is one of the largest regions, taking up about a ninth of New Zealand, with its rugged coastline stretching for 3,400 kilometres (2,100 miles). 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 region's biggest city is Invercargill, a stop-off point on the Southern Scenic route. Invercargill offers legendary southern hospitality and a base to explore the wild beauty of 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 southern ocean's chilly waters. Southlanders celebrate the oyster season each May with the Bluff oyster and seafood festival.
Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third-largest island and a haven for native birdlife such as kiwi, kereru (wood pigeon), bellbird, tui and saddleback. It lies across Foveaux Strait, a short ferry ride from Bluff.