Southland District is both the most southerly and the most westerly area of New Zealand’s South Island. The natural unspoilt splendour of Southland claims visitors’ hearts and thoughts like few other places. Whether you are a fellow New Zealander or friendly tourist you will enjoy exploring the magical atmosphere of the Southland District. Located in inland Southland, on State Highway 6, Winton is the ‘heart’ and service centre for the surrounding farming community.
While Captain James Cook was navigating New Zealand in 1773 he reported great numbers of seals in Dusky Sound, Fiordland, by 1792 the seal fur trade had moved to New Zealand, and over 34 years, hundreds of thousands of seals were butchered to near extinction. With seal fur trading a number of settlers in the early 1800’s were whaling, flax traders, sailors, and entrepreneurs.
The local and seafaring Māori settled in and around the shores and rivers throughout Southland and became involved in the economic growth supplying stone crafted tools, flax trade, whaling and supplying food to ships along the coastlines.
The Southland District has an area of 3,035,577 hectares from Awarua Point on the west coast to the Brothers Point on the fringe of the east coast and includes Stewart Island. Geographically the Southland District is very diverse. The Takitimu Ranges form a backdrop to the fertile Southland plains, while further westward majestic mountains, tranquil lakes and an abundance of native bush comprise the Fiordland heritage. Southland has a maritime temperate climate.
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Attractions and Activities
The district provides a playground for outdoor recreation from fishing to tramping, from mountain biking to a stroll around a bay beach, from jet boating to horse trekking, from waterskiing to walking to limestone caves and hugging the giant rata tree. As you can see the list is endless. The District is also home to two national parks – Rakiura covering most of Stewart Island and the country’s largest, Fiordland, which has World Heritage status.
Where life can be enjoyed to the fullest.
If you’re after a touch of retail therapy, you'll find that southern flair is everywhere - from designer jewellery to gourmet treats.
Maori Translation of Southland
Southland to the Māori is known as ‘Murihiku –the tail end of Aotearoa, New Zealand, the rudder, steering the future’.