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People often need help thinking of things to do in Invercargill, New Zealand but it’s really not that hard! Located at the bottom of the South Island (about 2.5 hours south of Dunedin), Invercargill is often overlooked as a destination. More commonly, Invercargill is a stop-over point for tourists on their way to Stewart Island. Today, I am here to tell you why you should view Invercargill as more than a stop-over but rather a destination for history and relaxation.
Beautiful, beautiful Queens Park! There is something for everyone in this park. A large playground for the children including a water section, an animal section including emus, wallabies, deer, and some bunnies! There is also an aviary, indoor tropical gardens, and a fitness track!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
There are also rose gardens, a stumpery, and a café. Phew, that’s a lot of stuff going on in one park! It is one of my favourite places to go walking for exercise, and the fitness track includes pull up bars and other strength training equipment. And yet for some reason I still insist on having a gym membership…not that I ever go….whoops.
Queens Park is also my top pick for a cute picnic, accompanied by some rather curious ducks.
Every year Shakespeare in the Park is held. Local actors all put on a fantastic show of one of Shakespeare’s plays. The different scenes take place in a different area of the park and it is so much fun to all walk around the park together and be entertained at the same time.
Trucks, cars, diggers, buses, from all timeframes. I’m talking prior to the Ford Model T right up to recent model cars. Personally, I am the least mechanically minded person you will ever come across (oh no my car is making an odd noise…better turn the radio up…) and I still spent 2.5hours looking around the museum. You can climb in some of the vehicles which is pretty fun and there is a Lego room for kids (and adults, let’s be honest). Also, the bathrooms are pretty cool, each has its own theme from Lego to flowers to tyres. Once you are exhausted from wandering about the museum, head to the café, The Grille, for an amazing hot chocolate and a delicious treat.
My work recently held their social club event here. There are conference and event rooms available for hire. We had a buffet dinner catered by MASH who have also catered for the Rolling Stones! The staff was lovely and everyone had an excellent time spending the afternoon exploring the museum followed by a much needed dinner (and alcohol).
Henry the Tuatara
Tuataras are reptiles which are native to New Zealand. These creatures have been kicking around since the dinosaur age and boy do they live for a long time!
Henry is now 115 and still going strong (he became a father at the young age of 111)! You can visit Henry, his lover, and his children at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery (free entry but donations are always appreciated) which is located right beside Queens Park. The Tuatara enclosure also includes tonnes of information on Tuataras.
Tuatara watching is basically the cute and fun version of “Where’s Wally?” and everyone gets excited when they spot one. These guys are like the sloths of the reptile world, they don’t really move too much (except when they’re babies) so it gets even more exciting when you see one move!
Largest Pyramid in the Southern Hemisphere
While you are visiting Henry, you will also be standing inside of the largest Pyramid in the Southern Hemisphere which is a pretty cool fact to tell your friends back home! The Southland Museum and Art Gallery is also packed full of information on the history of New Zealand, Maori artefacts, Victorian era clothing, and a moving boat! This Museum is always pretty good for a walk around and there is always something new being added.
Most Southern Starbucks
Starbucks lovers, listen up! Invercargill is home to the southern-most Starbucks in the world! Another fun fact to tell your friends back home! Starbucks is located on the main shopping street so grab your drink of choice and go for a wander!
Of course, anywhere in New Zealand is going to have access to some beautiful scenery and Invercargill is no exception. There are so many walking tracks! Whether it is the estuary walk, the embankment, Seaward Downs Reserve, or any of the other walks, you will probably be away from traffic and reconnecting with nature! YAY!
A pretty chilled out Mayor
Tim Shadbolt. The man, the myth, the legend. Beloved by Invercargill residents, Tim has now been mayor for eighteen consecutive years (1998-present), and had previously been mayor from 1993-1995. Not only is he loved by Invercargill residents, but Shadbolt has also become a bit of a New Zealand icon thanks to his down-to-earth ways.
From going viral for enjoying a ride on a scooter, to appearing on comedy chat shows, nothing stops Tim! If you’re lucky enough to come across Tim on your travels in Invercargill, I am pretty sure he would be down for a chat about your travel plans and impressions so far!
Invercargill is small (about 50,000 people) so getting around is so easy! No traffic jams, no overcrowded public
transport, and if you stay in the city centre, everything is in walking distance. Invercargill has a bus system which is easy to use if you are wanting to venture a little further.
Centrally located accommodation includes The Kelvin, or the more budget friendly, Tuatara Lodge. There is accommodation all over Invercargill and I guarantee that no matter where you choose to stay it will either be in walking distance of everything or else very close to a bus stop. YAY Invercargill.
So there you have it. All about my hometown of Invercargill and why I love it.
Tell me about your hometown! Why do you love your town?
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Thank you and much love,