The southernmost city in the world, Invercargill has the longest daylight hours in New Zealand (in the summer) and also frequently has the marvellous Southern Lights displayed over the city at night. This city is often missed on a quick tour of New Zealand, which is a pity because it has some great attractions.
1) Check out the Vehicles
Invercargill would be worth visiting just to see the motorcycle and car collections. The Hammer Hardware store is home to the fastest Indian (motorcycle) in the world. One of Invercargill's most famous sons, Bert Munro, not only rode this bike to the record-breaking speed for a 1000cc bike of 184mph in 1967, but he had modified the bike himself as well. Other bikes, cars and novelty items including an engine made from household items, are on show in this E Hayes Collection as well. Bill Richardson's Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca have another great display and now offer Dig This, a playground full of supersized toys- excavators and bulldozers. The Southland Fire Museum displays 5 fire engines dating from 1940. Together with the keen following of vehicles in Southland, there are two Raceways in the area- the Oreti Park Speedway and Heretonga Park, the southernmost Raceway in the World.
2) Check out the Buildings
Built in 1866, Porter's Lodge is believed to be the oldest building in the city, a small cottage, it is on Dee Street, as is the former Maternity Hospital which was the oldest public hospital in New Zealand. Further along, Dee St is the Troopers' Memorial built for the Boer War soldiers in 1908, containing a clock, a lone Marble Trooper and Aberdeen granite columns. Nearby St Paul's Cathedral was designed to have an eye-catching 40m spire, but it was never built, leaving the square tower that was added later. It houses bells that were cast in Italy from captured guns. The Catholic St Mary's Basilica was opened in 1905 and was once titled the prettiest church in Australasia, with a copper dome and many beautiful coloured glass windows. The Victorian Water Tower is a city landmark contains 300,000 bricks and the Victoria Railway Hotel is the same decorative architecture as the well-known Dunedin Railway Station.
3) Check out the Landscape
There is plenty of green throughout Invercargill, besides the prominent Queen's Park, with its aviary, statues and gardens. In the city centre, Otepuni Gardens cover 4 blocks and offer a peaceful, and colourful place to take a break within the city. Thompsons Bush is a remnant of the Kaihikatea swamp forest that once covered much the land in this area. Take the Estuary Walkway to the Pleasure Bay Lagoon, and enjoy the birdlife and the views. Walking between the lagoon and the sea, partly on a boardwalk, you find a serenity of nature that heartens the soul. Anderson's Park is an area of parkland donated to the city and containing the Anderson homestead and a replica Maori Whare Whakairo with beautifully carved panels. just out of the city, Sandy Point is a playground for the city, with walking and biking tracks through the native flora. Oreti Beach measuring 26 km being an ideal testing track for the 'Fastest Indian' is in the same area.
4) Check out the City
In Queen's Park, the 80-acre park in the centre of Invercargill, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery has a wealth of informative displays and art exhibitions. Pride of place is the 115-year-old Tuatara, Henry, while a Maori Gallery invites you to learn more of Maori culture and legends. A local demolition company has made a village known as Demolition World out of the treasures they have scavenged over the years. A haunted theatre, church, castle and sweet store are just a few of the restored buildings on display. Then you can wander the streets of Invercargill and enjoy the street art that includes sculptures and murals to delight visitors. There is a statue of Bert Munro, motorcycle legend with his beloved Indian, and a bronze Tuatara and a bronze Weka, a 7m Whale Tail among others. Two murals are to be found as well: one of a selection of Native Birds, the other a version of the Battle of Bannockburn, a symbol of Invercargill's Scottish associations.
5) Check out the Neighbours
Invercargill is the access to Stewart Island, the third Island of the country. First head south to Bluff, the small port town just south of Invercargill. Bluff is the oldest settlement in New Zealand and while there try the famous Bluff Oyster. Ferries from Bluff to Stewart Island take about an hour and flights 15-20 minutes. 85% of the Island is National Park, meaning Stewart Island is a nature-lover's paradise. Unspoilt and undiscovered, this is an eco-tourist destination of choice! South-west of New Zealand, close to Invercargill and well worth a visit is Fiordland, with Lake Te Anau, Mitre Peak and Doubtful and Milford Sounds. This 1.2 million Ha of glorious countryside, slashed by 14 Fiords and flanked by 215 km of sea. Apart from the beauty of the native bush and deep Sounds, there are walking tracks, picturesque lakes, and glow-worm caves to enjoy. Nearby Gore is the home of the Golden Guitar country music awards in New Zealand. It is also a trout fishing destination. The South-east corner of the country is Waipapa Point with a Lighthouse, a memorial to a shipwreck and Hooker Sea-lions, a very rare species. The area here is called the Catlins and it is an untouched area of bushland and rugged coastlines.
E Hayes Motorcycle Collection, Hammer Hardware FOC
Dig This Invercargill
Motorcycle Mecca Adult $20 Child $10
Transport World Adult $25 Child $15
Southland Fire Museum -gold coin donation
Southland Museum & Art Gallery FOC
Demolition World -gold coin donation
Ferry: Bluff to Oban, Stewart Island One-way Adult $79 Child $40
*Please note: Prices listed here are for reference only and it might change without notice. We recommend you call or visit the attraction's website for current pricing
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