Fiordland, Invercargill & Stewart Island holiday highlights

The attractive lakeside town of Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, home to some of the most spectacular natural landscapes on South Island. In Maori legend, the Fiordland landscape was said to be created by a godly figure, who carved the fiords from the rock walls.

The area is famous for the glacier-carved fjords, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Milford Sound changes with the seasons and can be stormy, brooding or peaceful – but always majestic and awe-inspiring, and Mitre Peak rising high out of its waters is a memorable picture to add to your Instagram collection. Doubtful Sound is remote and beautifully unspoilt, accessible only by boat. Both sites are utterly picturesque and great options for a day-trip or even an overnight cruise.

Invercargill is New Zealand’s southernmost city and is full of old-world charm – you’ll spot Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco heritage buildings on a visit here. It’s a great place to visit for food and drink; take a guided tour through the Invercargill Brewery, visit Blue River Dairy, Southland’s Sheep Milk Café, where you can enjoy cheese tasting, or have a go at chocolate making at the Seriously Good Chocolate Company.

Invercargill is also the gateway to New Zealand’s beautiful Stewart Island, 20 miles below South Island and 85% national park. The island’s 400 inhabitants enjoy a slower, simpler pace of life – revolving around beach, flora and fauna. To really soak up the vibe and views, we recommend taking the Rakiura Track, one of the New Zealand Great Walks with some beautiful coastal trails. The hike can be completed in one or two days or longer if you wish, and you could even spot fascinating brown kiwis.

Fiordland, Invercargill & Stewart Island key facts

Time difference

GMT +12 hours (GMT +13 hours from the last week in March to the first week in October)

Currency

New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) comprising of 100 cents.

Flying time to destination

Christchurch: 24½ hours

Language

English. Maori is also spoken but is not widely used.

Passport & visas

Visas are not required for UK passport holders.

Voltage & electricity

230 volt AC. Three round pin plugs are used, therefore an adapter is required.

Fiordland, Invercargill & Stewart Island good to know

Tipping

Tipping is a matter of choice. For excellent service, a discretionary tip of 10% may be given.

History

The history of New Zealand dates back to approx. 1250 AD. It was discovered by Polynesians, who settled and developed a distinct Maori culture centred on kinship links and land. New Zealand is often referred to as the 'youngest country', as it was one of the last major landmasses to be inhabited, and has a fascinating mix of Maori and European heritage.