Southland
Culture & History

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Southland Culture & History

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

1. 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 plant species. Relax for the remainder of the cruise around Paterson Inlet and enjoy the coastal scenery before heading back to the wharf.

...
Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

2. 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 your catamaran ride back to Oban township on Stewart Island.

...
Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

3. 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.

...
Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

4. 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 offer extra information on the passing flora and fauna. They are also there to help you with taking photos and assist with any requirements you may have. Around November you will have the chance to spot the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

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

5. 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 engine room to take a turn behind the wheel.

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

6. 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.

...
Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

7. 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 spectacular. The boats nudge right up to the base of the waterfalls, often challenging visitors to fill a glass of water from the cascading plumes! This luxury tour already has reserved window seating for you - so no need to worry about getting a seat! On board feel free to buy yourself snacks and sandwiches from the cafe or treat yourself to a buffet lunch! The boats are often escorted by pods of dolphins, while seals bask on the rocks. Take in the stunning scenery while your skipper gets you as close as possible to the wildlife for some fantastic photos. The cruise will take you out to the point where the fiord meets the open sea, and it is here at Anita Bay that the Maori collected their sacred Pounamu or Greenstone – prized for making tools, jewelry and ornaments, and still a highly-valued stone today. 

...
Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

8. 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.

...
Milford Sound & Big 5 Glaciers Scenic Flight from Queenstown

9. Milford Sound & Big 5 Glaciers Scenic Flight from Queenstown

Discover some of Mount Aspiring, Fiordland National Parks largest glaciers, and Milford Sound itself on a scenic flight. Each tour is guaranteed to see at least five major glaciers. These glaciers are kiwi secrets that have been reserved to advanced mountaineers or a select few tourists traveling by air from Wanaka. Begin with complimentary pick-up around 7:15 AM from your central Queenstown accommodation. After check-in completion, your pilot will give a thorough pre-flight briefing on the route and scenic highlights likely to be encountered. Depart Queenstown airport at 8:00 AM, the flight path tracks north up the world famous Shotover Canyon, passing Lake Lochnagar to Mount Aspiring. New Zealand has 7 glaciers that span greater than 10 hectares, and Volta Glacier, the only one in the Southern Lakes, happens to reside on the northern side of Mount Aspiring. Turn west toward Milford Sound to be mesmerized flying down glacier alley, the Olivine Ice Plateau, a unique glacial amphitheater. Further west toward Milford Sound, fly over Mount Tutoko and the Donne and Age Glaciers, before capturing the Fiord of Milford before the return flight back to Queenstown. Enjoy a complimentary return shuttle to your hotel to conclude your experience around 9:30 AM.

...
From Te Anau: Milford Sound Small Group Bus Tour and Cruise

10. From Te Anau: Milford Sound Small Group Bus Tour and Cruise

Start your day in central Te Anau as you board a modern tour bus and begin to explore Fiordland's stunning natural beauty. Knowledgeable local guides will share everything their homeland has to offer through informative commentary, scenic photo stops, and short nature walks. Cruise the full length of Milford Sound, and take in the spectacular scenery as mountains plunge into the deep waters of the Fiord. Ancient rainforests give way to towering waterfalls dropping from hanging valleys sparkling into the ocean below. Milford Sound is abundant with unique birds and wildlife. See seals lounging on the rocks and playing in the shallows. On occasion dolphins, whales, and the very rare Fiordland Crested Penguin visit the sounds providing privileged photo opportunities. Enjoy the fantastic scenery and nature walks without large crowds in order to fully admire the true wilderness and grand scenery of Fiordland National Park. Hop on board Milford Sound's only premium glass roof catamaran for a 2-hour scenic cruise. Enjoy a picnic on board while you take in the scenery from a different perspective.

...

Other Sightseeing Options in Southland

Want to discover all there is to do in Southland? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Southland

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 7 reviews

Informative, relaxing, spectacular! Highly recommend the small cruise. We got real close to the waterfalls and evem see a seal enjoy his lunch. Thanks Team! Was a dream come true.

Great guide who pointed out the flora and fauna of the island and took time to explain and answer questions.

Very enjoyable and information cruise and guided walk around Ulva Island.

Awesome trip, very knowledgeable and helpful, friendly crew. AAAAA+++++

Very enjoyable tour around the bays and informative guide