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Southland Region Major Towns

Dunedin

Dunedin was founded on the hard toil of whalers, goldminers and determined Scottish settlers. The city's name is the old Gaelic word for Edinburgh.

Dunedin is also known for its close proximity to wildlife – penguins, albatrosses, fur seals and sea lions. Take a drive along Otago Peninsula to discover Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only genuine castle.

Gore

The official home of country music in New Zealand, Gore hosts the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards in June every year. In February, the Hokonui Outdoor Country Music Festival keeps the town lively. Thanks to these two music events, the town has plenty of accommodation.

Visit the Hokonui Moonshine Museum to learn about the area's history of illicit whisky distilling. Follow the Gore Heritage Trail – a walking tour of historic sites in the town.

Invercargill

Invercargill is New Zealand's southernmost city and the commercial heart of Southland. It offers an excellent range of shops and a selection of lively cafes, bars and restaurants.

View New Zealand's largest collection of live tuatara (a native reptile) at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
The port of Bluff is the home of Bluff oysters – reputed to be among the best in the world.

Oamaru

Oamaru has some of the best-preserved historic buildings in New Zealand. In days gone by, the town prospered through goldmining, quarrying and timber milling.

The Harbour-Tyne Street area is particularly well-preserved. Architectural styles range from Gothic Revival to neoclassical Greek and Italian. Oamaru's public gardens include a stunning Italian marble fountain, a Victorian summerhouse and oriental garden, fragrant garden, rhododendron dell and cactus house.