Southland
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Southland Culture & History

  • Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Boat Cruise with Guided Walk

    1. Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Boat Cruise with Guided Walk

    Your tour will begin when you arrive at the historic wharf of Lake Te Anau 5, where you'll be greeted by your crew and welcomed aboard “Faith”. You'll then receive a personalized briefing about safety onboard the ship and what to expect during the cruise.  Once onboard, you’ll be free to roam around and your crew will offer you a drink and a chat during the 40-minute journey to the Hidden Lakes wharf. During this time, you’ll learn about the history of your cruise ship, the vessel’s journey from Scotland in the 1980s and its Royal Navy service during WW2. Upon arrival at the Hidden Lakes, experience a guided walking tour of Fiordland National Park of roughly 45 minutes, and learn about the surrounding flora and fauna from your guide. Once back at the wharf, enjoy a selection of canapés and desserts in the calm of the cove. Finally, sit back and enjoy the journey home or visit the engin...

    Easily one of the best things I've done. Such an amazing cruise with amazing crew and Faith has such a cool history, we fell in love with her the second we stepped on board. Would gladly do it again.

  • Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

    2. Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

    Your cruise will begin at one of the most scenic points of the journey. You can take in the magnificent view of Mitre Peak (New Zealand's most photographed mountain) and the Sinbad Gully. This place is home to the Kakapo (world's heaviest flightless parrot), which was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1948. From there you will cruise past seal colonies and feel the spray of the waterfall as you travel directly under the Fairy Falls. Once the cruise reaches the Tasman Sea, you will get to see the hidden entrance to the Milford Sound (which Captain Cook missed twice on his explorations). On your return journey, you will find yourself underneath an even bigger waterfall, the Sterling Falls. If you feel like a world-famous "glacial facial", don't miss the opportunity here to do so. Throughout your tour, nature guides will entertain you with local anecdotes, as well as offe...

    Really great time. Staff were very informative and easy to talk to. Was wonderful being on a smaller boat. We had a fantastic time and will definitely go again!!

  • Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

    3. Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

    At dusk, depart from Stewart Island's Halfmoon Bay in a catamaran. Cruise across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove, passing Ulva Island, a predator-free sanctuary, and learning about Stewart Island's rich history along the way. Once at Little Glory Cove, disembark onto a wharf at the southern part of the peninsula known as The Neck. The walk, led by your nature guide, is on a well-formed track across the peninsula, through spectacular coastal forest to a secluded sandy beach. As dusk sets in and daylight diminishes, venture by torchlight through the native forest with the stars and forest night sounds around you. The walk will take about 45 minutes one-way and the track emerges on to Ocean Beach. Keep your eyes peeled for Southern Brown Kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) searching for food among the seagrass on the beach. Afterward, retrace your steps through the forest to Little Glory Wharf for...

    Well worth the cost to have experienced and knowledgeable guides. Without Grace and Henry we would have missed out on so much. We would have walked right passed a feeding kiwi without even knowing it was there. Big thank you.

  • Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

    4. Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

    This coach trip includes a Milford Sound cruise aboard a comfortable, purpose-built cruise boat with optional lunch and refreshments. Enjoy multiple stops on your way to Milford Sound which makes the day even more amazing! When you arrive in Te anau - your first stop of the day - enjoy a toilet break and time to grab something from the cafe. They have great coffee, muffins and snacks! Enjoy a stop at the mirror lakes, a beautiful 5 minute boardwalk through a rainforest and other photo opportunities that make your journey to Milford Sound even more special.  On arrival at Milford Sound you immediately proceed to the boat terminal, where your driver will give you your boat pass and direct you to your cruise boat. On boarding, make yourself comfortable in one of the saloons or catch the scenery from the decks. Milford Sound is famous for its waterfalls, and if it's raining it's even more...

    Great tour guide, he was extremely enthusiastic and witty. Exactly what you need for a big day!

  • Stewart Island: 2.5-Hour Cruise and Ulva Island Guided Walk

    5. Stewart Island: 2.5-Hour Cruise and Ulva Island Guided Walk

    Discover Stewart Island from the water with a 2.5-hour experience including a cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and a 45-minute guided walk in Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Admire Paterson Inlet’s stunning scenery from hidden coves to unspoilt beaches. Hear fascinating stories of early Maori history and European settlement from your guide as you pass various landmarks. Your passionate guide will provide engaging commentary and is more than happy to answer questions. While on board, keep a lookout for fur seals, penguins and other wildlife, as sightings are common. Paterson Inlet is home to renowned wildlife sanctuary Ulva Island. Disembark here for a 45-minute guided walk with a specialist nature guide. The island is home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads amongst other species. It is also a protected habitat for some of New Zealand’s rarest plan...

    It’s the middle of winter The forecast is for hail, thunderstorms, strong westerlies and rain and we decide to go to Stewart Island and Ulva Island. Mad? Not at all. It was a wonderful trip. The ferry crossing was fairly calm, the trip around Paterson Inlet was interesting and very lovely and Ulva was a revelation: so beautiful, so interesting and full of life. Our guide was knowledgable and made the tour fun and fascinating. Recommended.

  • Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

    6. Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

    Are you ready to leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life? Explore New Zealand's Southernmost community from the comfort of a modern mini bus. The local guides are passionate about Stewart Island and enjoy sharing their in-depth knowledge of the history and environment of the region. During the tour, your friendly guides will take you on a journey though Oban township and across numerous picturesque bays and inlets. Unspoiled, incredibly beautiful, and steeped in stories of Maori legend, Stewart Island is well worth this informative introduction. There is plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks along the way. Highlights include the Rakiura National Park entrance at Lee Bay, Halfmoon and Horseshoe Bays, and views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock.

    Fantastic Tour with a very knowledgeable interesting Tour Guide. Comfy bus, good travel times. Thanks so much we had a fantastic time.

  • Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Scenic Cruise and Walk with Morning Tea

    7. Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Scenic Cruise and Walk with Morning Tea

    Begin your tour at the historic wharf of Lake Te Anau, where you'll be greeted by your crew and welcomed aboard. After a safety briefing and check-in, you'll be free to explore the ship. Enjoy some light refreshments on the scenic 40-minute journey to the Hidden Lakes wharf.   Upon arrival, leave the ship for a guided 45-minute walk through the Fiordland National Park. Learn about the surrounding flora and fauna from your guide. Once back at the ship, enjoy a delicious morning tea with a selection of canapes and desserts in the peaceful cove. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the journey back to Lake Te Anau.

    It was a very relaxing and organised trip delivering everything promised. The walk into the native forest was gorgeous and informative and arrived back to a very special morning tea. Nothing was a problem and both the skippers/guides had a lot of information which you could accept or not and a healthy sense of humour. The Faith is a gorgeous ship and sitting out the back was a fantastic experience. Thanks for the memories.

  • Haast: Milford Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight

    8. Haast: Milford Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight

    Enjoy unique views of untouched glaciers, alpine lakes, and the stunning Mt Aspiring, before descending into the mighty Milford Sound. Your trip can be tailor-made so that you can rendezvous with a cruise boat trip, kayak trip, or just enjoy a relaxing lunch and a stroll along the waterfront. Fly out over Milford Sound, taking in stunning waterfalls with their majestic misty rainbow colors and sheer, with rugged cliffs disappearing into the fiord. Flying back to Haast, you'll travel via the rugged, untamed Fiordland coastline, with the chance of spotting penguins, seal colonies, dolphins, and whales. Access to Milford is often easier from Haast because it is possible to fly in along the coastline. This flight will save you days of travel and gets you away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist centers. This tour can be personalised to make the experience perfect for you.

  • Milford Sound: Small-Group Tour from Te Anau

    9. Milford Sound: Small-Group Tour from Te Anau

    Travel from Te Anau alongside New Zealand's largest lake and into glacier-carved valleys before reaching Milford Sound on this full-day tour. Enjoy live commentary with lots of information along the way. Take in the best parts of Fiordland – the largest National Park in New Zealand. Ride in comfort in a small coach with plenty of leg room. Be on the lookout for a wide variety of native birds en route. Enjoy a cruise on Milford Sound on a small-to-medium-sized vessel with a capacity of 70 passengers. See seals, dolphins, and Fiordland crested penguins. Learn about the geology of the fiord from commentary provided in English. Marvel at the towering mountains and numerous waterfalls.

    A really fabulous trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound on a mini bus. Ray was our driver and we got a well informed commentary along the way with stops for photo opportunities and a bush walk as well. Morning tea was provided in spectacular scenery and lovely weather following a big snow dump the week before. At Milford we went on a small vessel to cruise the fiord for two hours. Again an informative and interesting commentary. I loved it all, appreciating the intimacy afforded by the small nature of the tour. Highly recommend this tour commencing at Te Anau. A great place to stay away from the busyness of Queenstown.

  • Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

    10. Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

    Take a scenic flight over the mountains and valleys of South Island, and appreciate the beauty of the dramatic landscape between Queenstown and Milford Sound. Get back to nature in Fiordland National Park, known for its glacier-carved fjords and magnificent beech forest. Climb aboard the Spirit of Milford catamaran, and explore the legendary body of water for 2 hours. Marvel at the flora and fauna, and get up close to native wildlife, including rare Fiordland crested penguins in the Spring and Fall. Appreciate the grandeur of the cliffs rising hundreds of meters from the water. Get within touching distance of impressive geological features, and feel the full force from the powerful Stirling Falls. Join the skipper on the bridge for a bird's-eye view, and to discover how the boat operates.

    The pilot was very knowledgeable about the area and gave a good commentary as we flew as did the cruise captain who took the boat right under the waterfalls

Other Sightseeing Options in Southland

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What people are saying about Southland

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 7 reviews

It’s the middle of winter The forecast is for hail, thunderstorms, strong westerlies and rain and we decide to go to Stewart Island and Ulva Island. Mad? Not at all. It was a wonderful trip. The ferry crossing was fairly calm, the trip around Paterson Inlet was interesting and very lovely and Ulva was a revelation: so beautiful, so interesting and full of life. Our guide was knowledgable and made the tour fun and fascinating. Recommended.

2nd go at this flight. Bad weather last year meant we missed out. Pays to have a spare day if you can. This flight was amazing although Milford had a bit of low cloud obscuring the view. I’d recommend the fly in boat trip if you really want to see Milford. This flight focussed more on the out of reach small mountain glaciers up towards Mt Aspiring. Beautiful remote otherwise impossible to see parts of the Southern Alps of Aotearoa.

Easily one of the best things I've done. Such an amazing cruise with amazing crew and Faith has such a cool history, we fell in love with her the second we stepped on board. Would gladly do it again.

Really great time. Staff were very informative and easy to talk to. Was wonderful being on a smaller boat. We had a fantastic time and will definitely go again!!

Amazing knowledge and service. Highly recommend for a more personal cruise