Six beautiful spots not to be missed in southland

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Gareth Meade
21 Oct, 2021
3 minutes to read

Some of the most scenic places in New Zealand’s deep south

Untouched Southland is New Zealand’s southernmost region and is home to some of the world's freshest oysters, rugged beautiful coastlines and adorable wildlife. It's also where the mountains meet the sea.

We’ve put together a must-see list of beautiful spots to visit when you explore this part of New Zealand's South Island.

Stewart Island

Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, the original Maori name, positions Stewart Island firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Translated as "The Anchor Stone of Maui's Canoe", it refers to the part played by this island in the legend of Maui and his crew, who from their canoe (the South Island) caught and brought to the surface a great fish (the North Island). You'll find one of New Zealand's most spectacular Great Walks - the Rakiura Track - on this island. Along the way, discover tranquil beaches, powdery sand dunes and native birds on this untouched island and the bottom of the world.

rakiura track sand dunes
routeburn track hike


Highlights of this town include the Southern Scenic Route, and the Hump Ridge Track. This stunning town is an ideal base for many wilderness activities such as hiking, fishing, white baiting, hunting and jet boating. The majestic expanses of Blue Cliffs Beach and vistas of Te Waewae Bay lie just beyond the town.

Fiordland National Park

One of the most dramatic and epic landscapes you can experience in New Zealand. This National Park’s jaw dropping beauty will stop you in your tracks, literally - you’ll be taking so many photos. We suggest the Routeburn track to get your fill of mountains, fjords, lakes and forests and if that’s not enough scenery to last a lifetime there is always the otherworldly landscape of Milford Sound.

One of the most dramatic and epic landscapes you can experience in New Zealand.

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound / Patea is a very large and naturally imposing fjord in Fiordland, in the far southwest of New Zealand. It is located in the same region as the smaller but more famous and accessible Milford Sound. It's also home to one of the southernmost populations of bottlenose dolphins.

Te Anau

Te Anau is the 'Gateway to Fiordland' being the closest town to Milford Sound, a scenic 2½ hour drive away. The proximity of three of New Zealand's Great Walks places Te Anau firmly on the map as 'The Walking Capital of the World'. The town also lies nestled on the edge of a beautiful lake, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt Luxmore and the Murchison mountains.

te anau kepler track trekking

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McLean Falls

Perhaps the best waterfall in the Southland area - The McLean Falls are on the Tautuku River in Catlins Conservation Park and it’s not to be missed while exploring the area. The walk to the falls is uphill, but it’s not too steep and very scenic. You’ll walk through a variety of forest and shrubs: huge tree fuchsia and podocarp forest.

Southland definitely shouldn’t be left off your New Zealand bucket list so make sure you add at least a couple of these beautiful locations to your next motorhome trip.

McLean Falls in Southland.