Self Drive Invercargill | Avis Car Rental

Invercargill Self Drive Holiday

With some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery on its doorstep and a rejuvenated heritage city-centre, Invercargill is a destination with a lot to offer. Bluff, Fiordland and Stewart Island are easily accessed, but the city also holds many pleasures for visitors, from the lovely architecture through to walks, museums, art galleries and even a pyramid. You'll find New Zealand's southernmost city an outpost of many charms.





Southland Museum and Art Gallery

Invercargill is home to the largest pyramid in the Southern Hemisphere, but it's what it houses that is really exciting. The 27m high structure on the edge of Queens Park houses a museum, art collection and café space that is the major cultural centre for Southland. It is also a great place to see live tuatara - the native, endangered reptile that is sometimes called the last dinosaur. Captive-breeding programs were pioneered here to help preserve this creature that has a lineage stretching back 220 million years.

Southland Museum Website


Queens Park

Queens Park boasts 80 hectares of gardens including special displays of roses, azaleas and Japanese Gardens. Walk amongst established trees or explore native and introduced plant-life. The park also contains an aviary where you can see native birds such as the kea, an indoor winter garden and cacti house, a kid's playground, varied animal enclosures and a café. The amazing thing is that all this is to be found in the centre of the city.

Invercargill CC Website


Heritage Walk

The city has a striking array of beautiful heritage buildings, reflecting different periods of prosperity. Invercargill is notable for the range of architectural styles represented. Grab a brochure from the information i-site at the Museum and spend as much of the day as you choose following the trail, with some sites walkable and some a short drive. It's a great way to get a feel for the history and layout of the city. Be sure to stop at St Mary's Basilica - once famous as the prettiest church in Australasia.


Sandy Point

Just ten minutes from the city centre is the Sandy Point Peninsula. The 2,000-hectare domain offers walks, bird watching, estuarine mudflats and native and plantation forest. Historically, local Maori used the area as a source of abundant food and wood from the Cabbage Tree and Totara groves - and today the remainders of the ancient wind-bent forest give the visitor a link to that past. There's ample parking, and an unmanned visitor information centre to help you pick your walks.



Stewart Island

The Southernmost island in New Zealand is a day-trip not to be missed. You can get to the island by plane, helicopter or boat. Most visitors take the ferry that sails regularly from Bluff. It is a half hour drive to the ferry landing. It is an hour-long trip - be sure to catch an early sailing to leave time to explore the island some and get back in a day. Stewart Island is 85 per cent National Park and has birdlife, rainforest and exceptional fishing. Keep an eye out for seals and dolphins on your ferry ride.



Bluff - as their slogan has it - 'is where the journey begins'. The Southernmost settlement on the South Island sees the start of SH1 at Stirling Point. Facilities include a gift shop and café. Bluff is well known for its oysters, with a festival held each year around May marking the season. However, there's more to Bluff than its famous export. Head to the Maritime Museum to learn about the history of this, the oldest European settlement in New Zealand, once the home of whalers, sealers and all sorts of trouble. Follow the heritage trail and retrace some of the oldest European steps in the country. Bluff is a half hour easy drive south of Invercargill.


Anderson Park Art Gallery

Five minutes north of Invercargill and set in 25-hectares of landscaped garden is the Anderson Park Art Gallery. To access the grounds you drive through native bush to get to a collection of 900 pieces of New Zealand art across the years, with an especial focus on artists of the South. There are also other attractions such as a children's playground and a duck pond. The works are displayed in the delightful Georgian style home, which was designed by noted Christchurch architect Cecil Wood.

Anderson Park Art Gallery Website


Burt Munro's Bike

Perhaps Southland's most famous son is the man immortalized in the film 'The World's Fastest Indian': Burt Munro. Burt was born and raised in Invercargill, and it was here he worked on and modified his bikes that he went on to set world speed records with - records that still stand today. Several of the bikes Burt worked up in his shed can be viewed at E. Hayes & Sons Hardware Store on Dee Street.



Tiwai Point Aluminum Smelter

On Tiwai Point is New Zealand's largest single electricity consumer. The Aluminum Smelter there uses clean energy from the Manapouri Hydroelectric dam to turn Australian ore it into high grade aluminum for export. This is one of the largest industrial enterprises in the country - and, for something a bit different, tours are available weekdays from 10am. Special clothing requirements apply and prior bookings are essential.

Phone: (03) 218 5494


Antiques & Second Hand Shops in Invercargill

Invercargill has not just managed to preserve its architecture - the same love for heritage runs to the excellent array of vintage-clothing and antique stores to be found. An afternoon can be spent fossicking amongst the second hand stores for faded treasures and rare finds.

Invercargill Website


The Catlins

An hour's drive to the South-East corner of New Zealand will find you in the Catlins, some of the most remote, isolated and magical land in the country. Explore the native forests, rugged coastline, waterfalls and wildlife - with Porpoise Bay being an especial highlight and comfortable drive. You might see Hectors Dolphins, yellow-eyed penguins, fir-seals and sea lions in abundance. Rarer still are the sparsely spread locals.

The Catlins Website


The Water Tower

The landmark Water Tower is one of Invercargill's oldest, best-known and most loved attractions. If you are in town on a Sunday afternoon you can take a tour of the tower and walk the 112 steps for the best view of the city.

Southland Tourism Website



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