Take to the skies in Gore
Aviation buffs will be in their element at the Croydon Heritage Centre and Aircraft Company. Visitors can see vintage aircraft, watch restorers at work, and even take a ride in a Tiger Moth. Plenty is on offer for those who prefer to stay grounded, including guided fly and trout fishing trips, impressive art at the Eastern Southland Gallery, lush greenery at the public gardens, and history galore on the Gore Heritage Trail.
Cruise around Fiordland
Jump on a boat at Fiordland National Park and marvel at the jaw-dropping scenery of Milford and Dusky Sounds. At the Underwater Observatory at Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, visitors can descend a staircase into an underwater viewing room to watch the fish coming and going in their natural habitat.
Stroll through the Catlins
Take a scenic walk through one of the Catlins tracks and you might see yellow-eyed penguins, Hector's dolphins, fur seals, sea lions and elephant seals, plus lush native bush and rugged, untouched beaches. Don't miss the Jurassic Forest at Curio Bay, and the spectacular Cathedral caves at Waipati Beach.
Relax in Invercargill
Wander through the town and you'll see a range of historical buildings, including the English Renaissance style Civic Theatre, the stately former Bank of New South Wales, New Zealand's first public hospital, and the Italian Romanesque-style First Presbyterian Church. Art-lovers should stop by Anderson Park Art Gallery and, if you tire of the city, take a side trip to Riverton and its picturesque harbour.
Escape to Stewart Island
A mere 20-minute flight or a one-hour ferry ride away, Stewart Island is a tramper's paradise. But you don't have to be Bear Grylls to get among the wildlife. Everything from 10-minute forest walks to 12-day treks are on offer so there is something for all fitness levels. Nature-lovers won't want to miss a day trip to the pest-free Ulva Island Sanctuary and fishing fans can jump on a charter and hunt for fresh0 blue cod.
Whether you want to hit the golf course, visit the Maritime Museum, or mountain bike up Bluff Hill, there is plenty to keep you entertained in New Zealand's southernmost town. Be sure to take a drive to Stirling Point for a selfie with the town's iconic signpost, which displays the distances to major cities throughout the world.