New Zealand – Southland (Milford Sound, Invercargill, The Catlins)

After making our way down Haast Pass to Wanaka, we entered the Southland region as we drove into Te Anau and up towards Milford Sound. We lucked out with perfect weather to appreciate Milford Sound, which astounded us with its beauty. Go Orange Cruises was offering an early morning special (2 hour cruise including breakfast for only $45) which was a great way to check out gorgeous Milford Sound from the water. The drive out from Milford Sound to Te Anau was stunning, and we pulled over frequently to soak up the amazing views. Back in Te Anau, we stopped by the bird sanctuary to meet the incredibly rare Takahe bird before making our way over to Riverton where we paid a visit to the Te Hikoi Southern Journey museum to learn about NZ’s early settlers. Then it was onward to Invercargill, Southland’s biggest city. After getting our fill of gardens and museums, we took a detour to Bluff to sample a couple dozen oysters (yum). From Invercargill, we drove to Gore where we sampled Hokonui whiskey and checked out the Eastern Southland Gallery (don’t miss the incredible John Money Collection, quite possibly the best display of West African artwork we’ve ever seen). Gore welcomed us with open arms with a plethora of excellent campsites, and we stumbled upon the best one yet (Gore Town and Country Club, a bargain $10 for 2 adults for a powered camp site with hot water showers). The next day, we backtracked to Invercargill to check out the Munro Special, the “World’s Fastest Indian” at the E Hayes and Sons hardware store of all places! Even if you aren’t into bikes, check out this amazing store but watch the 2005 Anthony Hopkins “The World’s Fastest Indian” movie beforehand to fully appreciate NZ’s most famous motorcycle racer. From Invercargill, we drove to Fortrose before embarking on the Southern Scenic Route (Waipapa Point’s lighthouse, Curio Bay, McLean Waterfall, Matai Falls, Purakaunui Falls, Jack’s Blowhole, Nugget Point’s lighthouse, and Kaka Point). It certainly has been a couple of busy weeks as we explored the Southland region of New Zealand! Next up we’ll be hitting Otago…

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