Things to do in Southland

Home to Fiordland National Park and its mountains and sounds, Southland is possibly the best place in New Zealand to experience the beautiful wilderness that this country has to offer.

You’ll find Southland at the very bottom of the South Island. It’s a long way to go, but definitely worth the trip.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound
Milford Sound

One of the most iconic places to visit in all of New Zealand. You may be here just for a cruise on the sound, but don’t forget to take your time on the drive and enjoy everything the Milford Road has to offer. Stay tuned for our Things to do in Milford Sound post!

Doubtful Sound

Harder to access that Milford Sound, and perhaps even more beautiful thanks, in part, to it’s exclusivity and lack of development (and people!). Pods of dolphins live in Doubtful Sound, unlike those that simply visit Milford, so it’s not unreasonable to expect some epic close encounters in the water.

Te Anau

Te Anau, Southland
Te Anau

The gateway to Milford Sound, Te Anau also has plenty to offer itself! Check out our post on everything you can do in Te Anau.

The Catlins / The Southern Scenic Route

Driving the Southern Scenic Route through The Catlins (and stopping plenty of times along the way) is a fantastic experience. The slower you can go the better to take in. Read our Catlins Road Trip (coming soon!) post to find out more.


The start (or end) of both State Highway 1 and the Te Araroa, the road and hiking trail that run from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North Island.

Get yourself some famous Bluff Oysters, pop down to Stirling Point (the end of the road and trail), or take a little walk up Bluff Hill.

There not actually a lot to do here… but it’s a point to tick off if you’re passing!

Curio Bay

Curio Bay, Southland

Part of The Catlins, but worth a mention itself is Curio Bay.

You can see a petrified forest that’s 180 million years old, a colony of rare yellow-eyed penguins, or the Hector’s dolphins that call this area home.

Great Walks in Southland

Literally. New Zealand has a set of 10 Great Walks around the country and Southland hosts 4 of them.

Milford Track

Running from Te Anau to Milford Sound (The northern section is closed at the time of writing, check before you travel), this walk will take 4 days.

Kepler Track

A 3-4 day round trip starting and ending in Te Anau.

Routeburn Track

2-4 day one way track. Running from the Milford road to just north of Glenorchy (near Queenstown). The track is 33km, to drive between those two points would be 324km!

Rakiura Track

A 3 day loop found on Stewart Island, just off of the South Coast of New Zealand near Bluff

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