New Zealand’s southern most city is a thriving economic and cultural centre for the Southland Region.
Invercargill lies slightly inland on the southern coast of the South Island. This spacious city with its lovely wide streets and green belts has the longest daylight hours in New Zealand. Invercargill’s moderate climate and the warm southern hospitality of the locals makes it a great place to use as a base to explore nearby Fiordland, Queenstown, Stewart Island and the Caitlins Coastline.
The city of Invercargill was formed in 1856 when the Governor of New Zealand Sir Thomas Gore Brown gave approval for a principal town in the province. The importance of a commercial centre had increased due to the expanding farming, timber and coal industries as well as the busy port of Bluff. Sir Thomas named the city Inver, meaning (meeting of two rivers), Cargill (after Captain William Cargill, the Superintendent of Otago). Today you can still enjoy the old Victorian and Edwardian architecture, which adds character to the city.
Invercargill’s recently redeveloped city centre has a great variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs to offer. In walking distance from the city centre is Queens Park, which is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Queens Park has a wide variety of gardens ranging from Rose to Japanese, an extensive bird aviary and various animal enclosures. The children’s playground and castle, café, duck pond and numerous walking paths are well worth exploring.
The Southland Museum and Art Gallery (situated on the edge of Queens Park) houses historical exhibitions, audio visual displays, three Art Galleries and is home to New Zealand’s largest display of live Tuatara (spiny-backed reptile native to New Zealand). The Museum’s unique pyramid style roof is worth a visit on its own.
One of Invercargill’s landmarks is the historic Water Tower, standing 42.5 metres high and built in 1889. Walk the 112 steps up the inside of the Tower for a wonderful view over the city.
At Splash Palace you will find fun filled entertainment including an Olympic sized swimming pool, swirl pool, steam room and Café. The children’s wave pool and hydro slide will keep the youngsters entertained for hours.
Sport and leisure activities are a huge part of a Southlander’s life and this is evident in the abundance of accessible golf courses, sports stadiums and outdoor activities available. Take a ten minute drive out of Invercargill to Sandy Point and Oreti Beach where you will find 13 kilometres of walking and mountain biking tracks, horse trekking, paint ball and clay/pistol shooting.