Exploring Invercargill, NZ

Located on the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Invercargill is the county’s southernmost city. So, while your trek to Invercargill may take you some time, depending on where you start, your travels will be well worth it.

Once you arrive at Invercargill, you’ll discover an array of activities, adventures, and cultural experiences to enjoy during your stay. Use this guide as you design a personalised itinerary for your Invercargill vacation to ensure that you visit all the areas can’t-miss spots.

Outdoor Exploration

Invercargill is known as the City of Water and Light, thanks to its coastal location and its long, sunny days. Thanks to extended daylight hours in the area, you’ll have ample time to explore nature in Invercargill. Whether you want to relax in a park in the heart of the city, enjoy a day at the beach, or hike through the bush, Invercargill’s natural beauty offers something for every traveller. There are plenty of campsites, too. So if you’ve got all your camping gear with you, spending the night outdoors can make the trip more enjoyable.

First, consider a stop at Queens Park, located near the city centre. Here, you can traverse through the public park’s 80 hectares, exploring gardens, wildlife areas, and sports fields. There’s ample space for picnicking, and if you’re travelling with kids, check out the playground and waterpark. Get your heart racing by walking on the fitness track, enjoying the 18-hole golf course, or challenging your travel mates to a disc golf game.

Check out Invercargill’s coastal highway at Oreti Beach, one of the country’s only beaches that allows visitors to drive cars on it. This beach is conveniently located near the city centre, allowing you to add some beach time into your day spent in Invercargill. If you’re looking for some adventure, try riding a four-wheeler right on the beach. Or, enjoy some time relaxing on the sand, building sandcastles, or kayaking in the water.

Finally, if you love to fish, take a drive to Mataura River, where you won’t be the only angler on the water. International fishermen flock to this river to throw in a line and fish for brown trout. So, fish alongside some of the world’s best in Invercargill.

Visit Local Attractions

Take in some of Invercargill’s history and culture by touring local attractions. To start, head to the city’s outskirts to Anderson Park, which features Sir Robert Anderson’s homestead. Weave through the walking track through the grounds, and enjoy a picnic lunch on site. During your walk through the bush, you’ll encounter plenty of native flora and fauna.

A visit to the Invercargill Water Tower is another must-see during your visit. This grand structure isn’t your ordinary water tower. Its brick structure and Victorian architecture allows it to stand out, serving as a focal point in the city. Towering more than 40 metres high, this water tower features a construction of more than 300,000 bricks that, over the years, have been restored. This water tower isn’t open to the public, but you can admire its architecture from the outside.

Transportation is an important part of Invercargill’s history, and you can learn more at Bill Richardson Transport World, the world’s largest private automotive museum. Stroll through the museum to take in retro cars and trucks from decades past, and learn more about the city’s ties to the automotive industry.

Explore Local Food and Drink

An array of food and drink options are available during your stay in Invercargill, so take some time to explore. Indulge your sweet tooth at The Seriously Good Chocolate Company, which, as it name implies, creates a bevy of chocolate confections. Go on a factory tour, where you can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of these chocolate treats. Swing by the mornings when the factory is hard at work creating new sweet treats. For a hands-on experience, consider signing up for a chocolate making class, where you’ll learn how to create gourmet chocolates and surely sample a few as well.

Check Out Local Art

Invercargill has a rich arts and culture scene worth exploring during your visit. To start, check out the Invercargill Public Art Gallery, which curates the city’s art collection. Established in 1951, the Invercargill Public Art Gallery now hosts several exhibitions and events throughout the year. It also boasts a permanent collection of more than 1,000 pieces. Some of the works in this collection date back to the early 20th century, with contemporary works available as well. So, take some time to explore the permanent collection and annual exhibits at this art gallery, an experience that will allow you to take in New Zealand culture during your visit to Invercargill.


When you head south to Invercargill, you’ll be met with a scenic area ready to explore. Whether you’re spending time outdoors, learning about local culture, art, and history, or enjoying local food and drink, you’ll discover plenty to do in Invercargill. So, design an itinerary suited for your preferences, and enjoy your visit to the South Island.

Author Bio

When she is not road tripping around Australia and New Zealand and writing about her trip, Nicole Anderson enjoys spending afternoons relaxing in her own inflatable spa, with a glass of wine in one hand, and the TV remote in another. She is a travel writer by day and part mermaid (who loves therapeutic portable hot tubs) by night.

Australia, Traveling