Southland New Zealand

Southland New Zealand includes the Fiordland National Park and Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island. The region extends from the west coast of Fiordland to the Catlins in the east.

The Darran Mountains north of Milford Sound and Eyre Mountains north of Lumsden provide northern boundaries, and Stewart Island / Rakiura the southernmost reach of Southland region.

Milford Sound Cruise in the Rain, Fiordland, New Zealand Southland
Milford Sound Cruise in the Rain, Fiordland, Southland New Zealand

The interior of Fiordland, the largest National Park in New Zealand, is pretty much uninhabited.

However, in the peak summer season the most popular tracks and huts will be alive with visitors from around the world and New Zealanders on their summer holidays.

If you want to walk one of the famous tracks such as Routeburn Track and Milford Track you are advised to book huts or camping as they get fully booked well in advance.

Waterfall in Fiordland, Southland,
South Island, New Zealand

Waterfall in Fiordland, Southland, South Island, New Zealand

The Southland Plains of New Zealand Southland region, between the Waiau and Mataura rivers, are flat and fertile with an agricultural economy and Gore and Invercargill being the two main settlements.

Invercargill is the largest city in Southland, housing half of Southland’s population, and it the most southern city in New Zealand. With a friendly welcome Invercargill is a great place to visit, use as a base for exploring the local area, and/or taking a trip to Stewart Island. Invercargill is along the Southern Scenic Route and has plenty of historic and cultural attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Stewart Island / Rakiura is within Southland New Zealand and is a popular destination for nature and wildlife, particularly in the height of the summer season. It is therefore advisable to book well in advance for accommodation, tours, and Rakiura Track huts.

Curio Bay, Porpoise Bay, and Waikawa are also in Southland along with part of the Catlins Conservation Park.

The southeast boundary of Southland meets with the south Otago region boundary.

There are several Lord of the Rings filming locations to visit in Southland, a list is provided below.

Southland New Zealand Climate

The climate of Southland is varied but it has a lower overall temperature range in comparison to the rest of New Zealand due to being closer to the South Pole, and is wetter than the rest of New Zealand with Fiordland being the wettest climate and highest rainfall, particularly at the higher altitudes of the mountains.

The coast tends to have a temperate coastal climate, and inland a more continental climate.

Southland New Zealand Driving

The Southern Scenic Route (SSR) through Southland and Otago provides over 600km of nature and culture with SSR taking you south from Dunedin, along the south coast through the Catlins to Invercargill, and up past Te Anau to Queenstown… or of course, the route can be done in reverse, from Queenstown to Dunedin. Information and leaflets can be obtained from i-SITE centres.


  • Southland
  • Gore
  • Invercargill

Places in Southland New Zealand

Southland New Zealand Attractions

Milford Road - Te Anau to Milford Sound - in Spring, Fiordland, Southland NZ
Milford Road View in Spring, Fiordland, Southland New Zealand

Southern Scenic Route

The Southern Scenic Route takes you through Otago and Southland regions.

Catlins (South West Catlins Coast)

Te Wahipounamu

South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses four of New Zealands national parks; Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park.


  • Sandy Point Domain Reserve
  • Queens Park
  • Thompson Bush
  • The Water Tower
  • Invercargill Brewery
  • Burt Munro - The World’s Fastest Indian film is about Burt Munro.
  • E. Hayes and Sons Ltd - A collection of historic motorbikes and classic cars, including Burt
  • Munro’s record breaking bike.
  • Southland Museum and Art Gallery
  • Anderson Park Art Gallery
  • Waihopai Walkway
  • Sandy Point / Oue
  • Greenpoint Reserve
  • Waituna Lagoon and Wetlands
  • Oreti Beach
  • Invercargill Airport

Bluff / Motupohue

  • Bluff Hill Reserve
  • Stirling Point
  • Oysters
  • Ferries to Stewart Island
  • Bluff Maritime Museum


Oldest Town in the South Island

Stewart Island / Rakiura

Fiordland National Park



Te Anau

  • Te Anau Things to Do
  • Lake Te Anau - Largest Lake in the South Island
  • Te Anau Caves - Glow worms
  • Scenic Cruises
  • Jetboating
  • Kayaking
  • Tours
  • Wildlife Park
  • Fiordland Cinema


  • Lake Manapouri - Second Deepest Lake in New Zealand
  • Scenic Cruises

Milford Road

Milford Road - Te Anau to Milford Sound for descriptions of these locations:

Milford Sound

Drive from to Milford Sound

  • Milford Sound
  • Kaka Creek Lookout
  • Milford Deep Underwater Observatory
  • Scenic Flights
  • Lady Bowen Falls
  • Giant Gate Falls
  • Mackay Falls
  • Sutherland Falls - Highest falls in New Zealand
  • Milford Sound Cruises
  • Dolphins, Fur Seals, Fiordland Crested Penguins
Hundreds of Waterfalls Around Milford Sound in Wet Weather
Fiordland National Park, Southland NZ

Hundreds of Waterfalls Around Milford Sound in Wet Weather Fiordland, Southland New Zealand

Doubtful Sound

  • Doubtful Sound Cruises
  • Kayaking
  • Dolphins, Fur Seals, Fiordland Crested Penguins

Dusky Sound

  • Dusky Track

Sutherland Falls

Highest falls in New Zealand

Lord of the Rings Filming Locations

  • Rugged Country South of Rivendell
  • Flight to the Ford
  • River Anduin
  • Dead Marshes
  • Fangorn Forest
  • Isengard
  • Lothlorien
  • Amon Hen

All Lord of the Rings Filming Locations

Southland New Zealand Location Map