Autumn is one of the most beautiful and colourful times of year to visit Southland. The native forests and rolling hills are green year-round, but autumn brings out the best in the scenery against our brilliant, blue skies.
It is an excellent time to explore all the region has to offer, including clear night skies, wildlife spotting, walking trails, wining and dining,
historical trails, and sightseeing along the way.
With the days getting shorter, autumn is a great time of year to go kiwi spotting on Stewart Island. Experience the spectacular dune environment and wild west coast beach and learn about the natural history and early European history of the area all while keeping an eye out for the Rakiura Tokoeka Southern Brown Kiwi.
The nightlife doesn’t stop there as Autumn offers you a good chance to see the famous Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) and what better place to see them than in Southland’s only dark sky sanctuary, Rakiura Stewart Island. If you cannot make it to the island, other great options for stargazing are: Slope Point, the southern-most point on the South Island, or Fiordland National Park.
The daytime in Southland has just as much to offer to keep you captivated. Don’t miss the chance to visit the seaside port town of Bluff. Seafood lovers can rejoice here, as Bluff oyster season is from March to August. Grown slowly in the cool, clean waters of Foveaux Strait the world-famous Bluff oyster is a true New Zealand delicacy. While there be sure to take the time to visit Stirling Point – which is the beginning – or end of State Highway 1 – and get a photo at the famous signpost. Stirling Point is also home to the beginning of the Bluff Hill track if you are looking to balance out the kaimoana with some active pursuits.
Oysters aren’t the only Southland food group you can indulge in during your visit. Fiordland venison, blue cod and crayfish offer an exceptional untamed taste of the South. If your tastes are more suited to the simpler things in life, the cooler months are the perfect time to pair “southern sushi” – the southland cheese roll, with a piping hot bowl of your favourite soup.
Celebrating our finest flavours, Southland hosts the autumn festival Savour the South during the month of April. Combining the best of our hospitality possibilities you can enjoy long lunches, unique events and dishes popping up across the region from pie shops to pub grub, fine dining, and everything in between. If you prefer foraging for your own kai, Autumn is also the best time for this with field mushrooms galore as well as an abundance of watercress, kawakawa and horipito available.
It’s not just the foodies that are spoilt for choice, so are the history enthusiasts. Southland has an array of museums harbouring various treasures scattered throughout the region. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t just for history fanatics, these museums resemble art galleries with a wide palette of colour schemes, engineering marvels and local’s stories. Visit the famous Te Hikoi museum in Riverton to gain insight in how our Māori and European ancestors adapted to survive on nature’s edge, the Eastern Southland Art Gallery in Gore with national collections guaranteed to surpass your expectations, let E Hayes and Sons, Classic Motorcycle Mecca and Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill show you why Invercargill is also dubbed the Motoring Capital on New Zealand or visit Tumu Toka Curioscape at Curio Bay, to learn all about the history of the people, the wildlife and the 180-million year old petrified forest.
Autumn is also the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful seasonal colours and explore the region, and what better what to see the region than to discover one of the many walks in Southland. From short walks like Mores Scenic Reserve, Dolamore Park, Queens Park and Forest Hill Scenic Reserve through to epic multi day walks such as the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and the Hump Ridge Track.
No matter what your passion, Southland has something for you. Our doors are always open, the jug’s on and we can’t wait to show you around! It’s the New Zealand we all dream of… Discover more at southlandnz.com