Invercargill always gets a bit of flack from the rest of New Zealand, mostly for its slow-pace and “country” feel. I’ve visited the city a few times, and it’s definitely not the most exciting of cities, but it isn’t awful. However, it seems to be a place you might just pass through, or use as a base for exploring other southern areas.
A very good friend of mine used to work and live in New Zealand’s southern-most city, so I have visited a few times. To be honest, I’m struggling to recall what we did whilst there, other than visit numerous restaurants and dodgy bars!
Queens Park is a nice area for a stroll; the gardens are really pretty and there are lots of paths to wander down on a nice day. The Southland Museum and Art Gallery is located at one end of the park, and houses New Zealand’s oldest living tuatara – you could spend hours watching and waiting for him to move!
South of Invercargill, Bluff is New Zealand’s southern-most town. Famed for its oysters, Tiwai Point and once, the Paua Shell House, this sleepy little place is the gateway to Stewart Island.The harbour is always crammed with boats, and the smell of the aluminium smelter competes with the smell of the sea.
Our visit to The Catlins last year coincided with the Bluff Oyster Festival; oysters, blue cod and other sea-dwelling foods cooked in a multitude of ways…we were in seafood-lovers’ heaven! Being a little over seven months pregnant, there wasn’t a huge amount for me to sample (I’ve tried mutton bird before, and I wasn’t going there again!), but the fish was as fresh as possible, and it was a fun day. Tiny was enthralled by the helicopters offering 20 minute rides, but not keen on the noise.