Invercargill is full of surprises. Its wide streets are furnished with fabulous heritage buildings, there's afood and coffee culture, and you can see Burt Munro's 'World's Fastest Indian' at a local hardware store. And if you're visiting during the Bluff Oyster season, deciding what to have as a starter won't be difficult.
From Invercargill it's easy to launch into the beautiful landscapes of Southland. There's Stewart Island to discover, as well as the Catlins and Fiordland. Crowds are non-existent and the skies seem bigger somehow. It all adds up to a huge, scenery-intensive holiday experience.
About our flights to Invercargill
Air New Zealand operates non-stop flights to Invercargill from Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with connections across the New Zealand domestic network. With all our New Zealand domestic airfares you can choose seat, seat+bag, flexichange or flexirefund fare types. Flexichange gives you the flexibility to change your flight with no change fees while flexirefund is fully refundable. Find out more about our New Zealand domestic seat options.
Discover Invercargill's history and culture
If you're fond of machinery, motorcycles and amazing old cars, Invercargill is a holiday destination made in heaven. Top exhibit is the World's Fastest Indian, the modified Indian motorcycle that in 1967 secured a world speed record that still stands today. Then there's Classic Motorcycle Mecca, a museum devoted entirely to two-wheel motorised transport. And if cars are more your thing, Bill Richardson Transport World has a treasure trove of vintage motor vehicles dating back as far as 1902.
You can also enjoy the history of Invercargill by following the heritage trail. There are some extraordinary old buildings around the city streets, as well as elegant Queen's Park with its fine gate, statues and band rotunda.
While you're holidaying in Southland, listen out for the rolled Rs of the locals. Many Scottish migrants settled in the area between 1840 and the 1970s, and their legacy lives on through the local accent. Of the place names in Invercargill, around 40% can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names.
From Invercargill there are some extraordinary nature experiences within easy reach. First up is Stewart Island, accessible by ferry from Bluff or air from Invercargill. Here you can go hiking or fishing in an environment that is mostly as it's always been - untouched. Rakiura National Park occupies much of the island and the main town is Oban. For kiwi watching and other bird-related experiences, Stewart Island is unbeatable.
Wildlife encounters come with the territory. The Catlins region is home to fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins, dolphins, elephant seals and many kinds of seabird.
Another big Southland adventure is the road journey from Invercargill to Dunedin, a strip of coast known as The Catlins. The scenery is enthralling - wild surf beaches, lush forests, lonely lighthouses, a petrified forest of ancient trees, waterfalls and dramatic rock formations. Wildlife encounters come with the territory. This coast is home to fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins, dolphins, elephant seals and many kinds of seabird.
Your final Southland frontier is the eastern edge of Fiordland, where you'll come to the lakeside towns of Manapouri and Te Anau. Cruise Lake Manapouri or embark on a kayaking and sailing expedition to the fiords. Te Anau entertainments include a wildlife park, walking the Kepler Track, caving and horse treks. On the way to or from Fiordland, leave time to walk some of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, something of a legend in the hiking world. It leads you to beach, forest and sub alpine scenery, with historic wooden viaducts for added interest along the way.
Events in and around Invercargill are invariably as unique as the region. There's the Burt Munro Challenge Rally in February, a motorcycle event that encompasses all kinds of on and off-road races; Heritage Harvest Festival in March, at the seaside town of Riverton; Hop 'n' Vine in April, which honours craft beers and boutique wines; the very famous Bluff Oyster and Food Festival in May, a celebration of Southland's amazing seafood; and the Tussock Country Festival in June, where the town of Gore revels in a week of outstanding country music.
Top 10 fun things to do in and around Invercargill
- Admire vintage vehicles of all kinds
At E Hayes and Sons you can see the Worlds Fastest Indian, the modified Indian Scout that Burt Munro rode to claim a world land speed record. Bill Richardson Transport World has hundreds of motor vehicles dating back to 1902. And Classic Motorcycle Mecca is where youll find A to Z of motorcycle brands.
- Drive the Southern Scenic Route
The sightseeing road trip from Dunedin to Queenstown is packed with extraordinary scenery. A special highlight is the section along the Catlins, where dolphins, penguins, fur seals, sea lions and a petrified forest will keep your camera busy.
- Dip into Fiordland
Experience the awesome vertical scenery of Fiordland with flightseeing, boat trips, diving, sea kayaking and overnight cruises. Milford Sound is known for its sheer magnificence, while locals call Doubtful Sound 'the sound of silence, because its so remote.
- Indulge at the Bluff Oyster and Seafood Festival
Towards the end of May every year, the Southland town of Bluff celebrates what many believe to be the best oyster in the world. The Bluff Oyster & Seafood Festival delivers fantastic local entertainment, gourmet delicacies and, of course, truckloads of Bluff oysters.
- Find peace on Stewart Island
Accessible by ferry or small plane, Stewart Island is the ultimate place for digital detoxing, bird watching and hiking. During the day your feet will find the rhythm of the trail. At night youll be lulled to sleep by the call of ruru (native owls) and the screech of kiwi.
- Chomp down on Southland cheese rolls
The combination of tasty cheddar cheese, finely chopped onion, evaporated milk, French onion soup mix and white bread is world famous in New Zealand. It comes together as the Southland Cheese Roll - toasted crunchy on the outside, deliciously melty on the inside.
- Follow a Great Walk
Several of New Zealands' Great Walks are calling to you from Southland. The Kepler Track, the Routeburn Track and the Rakiura Track. Depending on the track you choose, youll see soaring peaks, vast forested valleys, exquisite waterfalls and remote wilderness beaches.
- Have a wild wet adventure
The waters of Southland are full of opportunities for water-based adventure. Theres the one-day lake-to-coast jet boat along the Wairaurahiri River, surfing or paddle boarding at Riverton and ocean boat trips to see dolphins, pelagic birds and seals.
- Gaze at the southern stars
From the southern coast you may get the chance to see the Aurora Australis, a natural atmospheric effect that's tied to solar flare activity. Seeing this phenomenon is a matter of luck, but locals reckon March to September is the best time for viewing. At any time of the year, the skies above Southland are a twinkling ceiling of stars - the Milky Way and Southern Cross are extraordinarily beautiful from down here. Stewart Island/Rakiura is a Dark Sky Sanctuary, the southernmost Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world awarded this accreditation in January 2019 from its outstanding sky quality.
- Discover the moonshine
Not-so-legal whisky distilling is part of Southland history. In the early 1800s, a local carpenter created a cabbage tree distillate known as 'McShane's Chained Lightning'. Then in the 1870s, members of the McRae clan from the Scottish Highlands brought their whisky-making skills to the Hokonui area and spent the next 80 years scurrying from the law and the temperance society. You can feel the spirit at the bi-annual Hokonui Moonshine Festival in February and uncover the amazing stories at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum.
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Keep exploring Invercargill & Southland
Best time to go
As our most southern city, Invercargill has a naturally air-conditioned climate. However it's not a place of extremes - the average maximum in summer is 18°C, while in winter it's about 10°C. January is the wettest month; February and March are prime time; spring is lush - your videos of lamb antics will be an Instagram sensation.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $100 to $150 a day per person for food and entertainment.
|Flight route||Flight time*||Stops**||Days||Book|
|Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL)||12h 50m||Non-stop||M,T,W,T,F,S,S||Find flights|
|San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL)||12h 55m||Non-stop||T,W,F,S,S||Find flights|
|Houston (IAH) to Auckland (AKL)||14h 45m||Non-stop||M,T,T,F,S,S||Find flights|
|Chicago (ORD) to Auckland (AKL)||16h 10m||Non-stop||W,F,Su||Find flights|
|Honolulu (HNL) to Auckland (AKL)||9h 5m||Non-stop||M,T,W,T,F,Sa||Find flights|
|Newark (EWR) to Auckland (AKL)||12h 40m||Non-stop||M,Th,Sa||Find flights|
|Auckland (AKL) to Invercargill (IVC)||2h||Non-stop||M,W,T,F,Sun||Find flights|
Cheap flights to Invercargill
Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL)
San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL)
Houston (IAH) to Auckland (AKL)
Chicago (ORD) to Auckland (AKL)
Honolulu (HNL) to Auckland (AKL)
Newark (EWR) to Auckland (AKL)
Auckland (AKL) to Invercargill (IVC)
*The above table reflects sample flight duration and days of frequency. Please check our flight timetable for specific dates before booking.