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Overview

New Zealand’s magnificent Southland region encompasses the rugged and remote southern end of the South Island, plus the pristine bushland of Stewart Island some 25 miles offshore. At Milford Sound, visitors clamber onto enormous boats for a tour of this awesome cliff-lined fjord. Many also venture out to the equally memorable Doubtful Sound — it's at its most spectacular after rain, when impromptu waterfalls crash down the sheer rock. Walkers forgo the cruises and stride down the Milford Track, one of the world’s great hikes. It stretches from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound, negotiating World Heritage-listed tracts of rainforest and alpine ...

New Zealand’s magnificent Southland region encompasses the rugged and remote southern end of the South Island, plus the pristine bushland of Stewart Island some 25 miles offshore. At Milford Sound, visitors clamber onto enormous boats for a tour of this awesome cliff-lined fjord. Many also venture out to the equally memorable Doubtful Sound — it's at its most spectacular after rain, when impromptu waterfalls crash down the sheer rock. Walkers forgo the cruises and stride down the Milford Track, one of the world’s great hikes. It stretches from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound, negotiating World Heritage-listed tracts of rainforest and alpine passes along the way. Also at the lake is the enigmatic Te Anau Glowworm Caves, where thousands of minuscule creatures light up a limestone grotto. In the east of the region is the beautiful, little-visited coastal wilderness called The Caitlins, a highlight of which is the seal colony at Nugget Point. South of the mainland is Stewart Island, so rich in flora and fauna, particularly bird life, that almost all of it is a designated national park.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southland is in the southernmost tip of New Zealand's South Island and also includes Stewart Island
  • Language: English, Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to April, when it’s warm enough to fully enjoy these great outdoors.