Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0 (]

My virtual “tour” of New Zealand now brings me to its southern most point.

The region of Southland is a land of rugged coast and rolling plains, world-renowned Bluff oysters and the launching place for a visit to Stewart Island. (New Zealand’s third small sometimes overlooked Island)

Southland’s largest centre is Invercargill. As a garden lover I enjoyed seeing Queens Park and its 80 hectares of tree-lined walkways and diverse gardens. The city turns on the hospitality so, here I plenty of friendly people to meet along my travels.

Half an hour from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff.  Bluff is one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand. I go there to enjoy the scent of the sea and the rugged character of an oystering port. Known for its fabulous seafood, this is the place to taste the world famous Bluff oysters. The oyster season runs from March to August, and in May the locals put on a lively festival to honour this delectable treat from the sea.

Bluff is also the place to catch a ferry to Stewart Island where you’ll find a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you have a fair chance of seeing kiwi in their native habitat.