Southland, Walks & Parks

  • Otepuni Gardens - Invercargill

    Winding pathways along the banks of the Otepuni Stream, located between Forth and Tyne Streets, provide a refreshing break from the city’s central business district. A few minutes’ walk from the city centre, Otepuni Gardens covers 9.4 hectares and encompasses four city blocks. The gardens were once the main city park, complete with a nursery, display houses and aviaries, but those have now gone, although the charm and beauty of the gardens still remain.

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    • Location: Invercargill - between Forth and Tyne Streets
  • Queens Park - Invercargill

    80 hectares (200 acres) of gardens and parkland, minutes from the city centre and next to the main tourist information centre and Southland museum. Queens Park also has an impressive bird aviary, animal enclosures, children’s play areas, extensive sporting facilities, 18 hole golf course, observatory and cafes. Also prominent on the ground is the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. There is a 4 km fitness trail for the energetic, otherwise there are numerous paths and tracks throughout the park.

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    • Location: Invercargill - Queens Park, Gala Street
  • Estuary Walkway - Invercargill

    Walking/cycling loop track through the estuary margins (access off Stead Street). Well-formed gravel track (approx 5.5km) with boardwalks, providing views of the estuary. Interpretive panels, seating and shelters are along the track.

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    • Location: Invercargill, Stead Street
  • Sandy Point Domain - Invercargill

    Located 7km west of Invercargill, drive to Oreti Beach on Dunns Road. The domain entrance is just after the Oreti River bridge and consists of over 2000 hectares of dunes, beach and bush. Also of interest is the ancient sand dune forest of wind sculptured Totara and Matai. The domain features several toilets and picnic/BBQ areas, and there are two playgrounds located in the Sandy Point Domain. Sandy Point is popular for various local activities or clubs: horsetrekking, kayaking, motor sports, mountain biking, paintball, rugby, rodeo, shooting sports, surf life saving and water skiing. There are also around 14km of walking tracks, making it easy to explore Sandy Point on foot. Example walks: Hatches Hill Lookout (5 minutes, one way) The track is signed at the turn off to Noki Kaik Beach. The lookout provides panoramic views across the New River Estuary to Invercargill and south to Bluff and Stewart Island. The track continues to the picnic area at Noki Kaik (15 minutes one way). Daffodil Bay to Hatches Hill (45 minutes one way) the track entrance is signed from the picnic area. It combines good estuary views with the unusual Totara-Matai forest so characteristic of this area. McShanes Track (25 minutes return) starts opposite the settlement of Cooper’s Creek and passes through an attractive remnant of native forest. At the Loop Road, cross the traffic barrier and turn left to return to Coopers Creek.

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    • Location: Invercargill, Sandy Point, 7km west of Invercargill, nr Oreti Beach
  • Stirling Point - Bluff

    If you’ve got this far, it’s a must to visit the southernmost point on NZ’s mainland – Stirling Point. It’s marked by a signpost telling you just how far you are from most of the world’s major cities. There are toilets and a restaurant/café at Stirling Point. Foveaux Walkway 50 minutes return. The coastal track from Stirling Point to Lookout Point has a gravelled and well-compacted surface, which can be used by buggies, although it is uneven in places. Glory Track a 50 minute round trip from Stirling Point, follows the track up the hill behind the restaurant. At the top of the hill you can see gunneries, and then continue walking from the Gunpit entrance around to Stirling Point.

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    • Location: Bluff - Stirling Point
  • Observation Rock - Stewart Island

    From the DOC Visitor Centre turn right towards the waterfront, continue right until you reach Excelsior Road on your right. Excelsior Road is an uphill climb, watch for the Observation Rock track sign on your right at the summit of the hill, a short forest track leads you to the rock forming the lookout, with great views over Paterson Inlet, particularly at sunset. To return to Halfmoon Bay retrace steps to the road and continue right, down the hill towards Golden Bay Road. A right hand turn will bring you back to town past Traill Park. Look out for Tui, with the distinctive white feather, or ruff, below its beak.

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    • Location: Stewart Island, off Excelsior Road
  • Greenpoint Domain - Bluff

    Approximately 5 minutes drive from Bluff. Walking time approx 15 minutes one way. Access is signed left off SH1 immediately before Greenpoint cemetery. A peaceful setting for a shoreline walk and picnic with Bluff Harbour views. Suitable for buggies. At low tide it’s possible to walk along the beach. Interpretation panels explain the natural and historic features of this part of Bluff Harbour. At Greenpoint picnic area a viewing platform overlooks the ships’ graveyard and identifies some of Bluff Harbour’s historic landmarks. Visitors should be aware that the nearest public toilets are at Bluff. Note: The railway track is in regular use. Stop, look and listen before crossing.

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    • Location: Bluff, Greenpoint Domain, off SH1, nr Greenpoint Cemetary
  • Horseshoe Point - Stewart Island

    From the general store, continue to your left, uphill on the Horseshoe Bay Road until you reach Horseshoe Bay (approximately 40 minutes). Turn right and follow the coastal track to Horseshoe Point (30 minutes). It is a great spot to view the comings and goings across Foveaux Strait. The track beyond Horseshoe Point towards Bragg Bay is not maintained.

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    • Location: Stewart Island, from Horseshoe Bay Road
  • Andersons Park - Invercargill

    Anderson Park surrounds the Anderson Park Art Gallery and covers 24 hectares of flower and rose gardens, immaculate lawn, tall trees and native bush. There is also a traditional carved Maori house, a short bush walk circuit, duck pond and childrens playground. The Andersons' elegant home now houses the Anderson Park Art Gallery Society's splendid collection of quality New Zealand art. Situated on McIvor Road, Invercargill.

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    • Location: Invercargill - Andersons Park, McIvor Road
  • Bathing Beach - Stewart Island

    From the general store, continue uphill to your left on the Horseshoe Bay Road and branch right when you reach Kamahi Road (after about 5 minutes). The signposted track descends on the left to a popular bathing beach.

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    • Location: Stewart Island, Horseshoe Bay Road
  • Curio Bay - Catlins

    Curio Bay is of international significance for its fossilised forest dating back to the Jurassic period. The tree fossils you see here are 160 million years old and the forest was alive when NZ was part of Gondwanaland. Curio Bay’s fossil forest is best viewed at low tide from the viewing platform which is only a short walk (5 minutes) from the car park.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.