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Southland is a nature lover’s playground – a virtually untouched

wilderness known for its rare and unique wildlife. The region is an

absolute “must do” for anyone who is passionate about the natural

world and authentic encounters.

For the best experiences, we recommend you use a tour or a guide

but there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife throughout the

region self-guided. If you are self-guiding, please remember to respect

the wildlife by keeping a safe distance and following any local area


Some of the region’s best nature excursions include:

• Meet 115 year old Tuatara, Henry, at the world’s leading Tuatara

breeding centre - the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

• Nature dominates on Stewart Island, home to the iconic kiwi, robin,

tui, dotterel and kaka.

• Ulva Island is a dream destination for bird lovers. Explore the island

sanctuary and discover our most rare and endangered native birdlife

including the Mohua/Yellowhead and the Saddleback.

• Marvel in the seclusion of The Catlins and see marine life including

Yellow-Eyed Penguins, Hector’s dolphin, New Zealand Sea Lion and

Fur Seals.

• Go hiking in the high country and keep a look out for giant snails.