Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Traveling with Hannah Tan to Invercargill

Hannah is a blogger I met through a blogging Facebook group. She is also in a small, Christian blogging group I joined which is how I got to know her better. She runs a youth ministry blog called Tansquared Youth Ministry where she provides resources for youth group leaders. Today, she is talking about her hometown of Invercargill, New Zealand!
Invercargill, NZ - Travel Guide
Hello from New Zealand! I’m Hannah, and I live at the bottom of this little country at the ends of the earth. I’m a full time mama, blogger, and Youth Leader along with my husband Charles who also works full time as a nurse. Today I’m sharing with you our little corner of the world. So, welcome to Invercargill, the southernmost city in New Zealand! I hope you enjoy this tour.

Invercargill is located in the Southland region of NZ and is a small city of around 50,000 residents. I am a Southlander born and bred and have lived in Invercargill itself for almost 5 years in total. This area will always have a special place in my heart.

In general, Invercargill is quite relaxed and easygoing. It’s not bustling, and people aren’t too busy to stop for a chat. And it’s one of the most affordable places in New Zealand to live. With the dairy industry being the backbone of the region and more and more dairy workers coming from overseas, Southland and Invercargill are becoming more culturally diverse.
Places of Interest 
Queens Park - the city gardens are gorgeous in the summer, and perfect for a relaxing stroll all year round. Right now it’s mid-way through autumn and we’re just getting the golden colours coming through. In Queens Park you’ll find the rose gardens, indoor gardens, band rotunda, bird aviary, playgrounds, duck ponds, golf course, and stumpery, to name a few.

Southland Museum and Art Gallery - in one corner of Queens Park you’ll find the museum {which is also the information center}. The museum is home to our famous Henry the Tuatara! Tuataras are an endangered species and here you’ll find an enclosure where they are being raised. Today I only saw 1 tuatara, but if you’re lucky you’ll see as many as 10!

Oreti beach - home to the world’s fastest Indian! This is our wee claim to fame. Oreti beach also hosts the annual Burt Munro Challenge, the largest motorcycle rally in the country. Oreti beach is probably my favourite thing about Invercargill. It’s a huge flat expanse of sand, with wild dunes to the east and wild ocean to the west. I especially love a grey day, when the moody cloud is reflected in this wild ocean.. It’s just stunning.

Bluff - a small town about 20 minutes drive from Invercargill is popular with tourists to see the signpost and the lookout at Bluff Hill. It’s also where you’ll catch the ferry over to Stewart Island.
Tuatara from Southland Museum
Local Cafes 
Invercargill is home to the world’s southernmost Starbucks! If Starbucks isn’t your jam, grab a coffee at one of our favourite local cafes instead: Zookeepers, The Batch, or The Grille. Zookeepers is on the quirky side, is one of the only cafes in town open after 6pm, and has amazing iced chocolates. The Batch is a busy Scandinavian-style cafe, and The Grille is new to town and located in the transport museum.
Day trips 
The Catlins - stunning scenery only an hour drive from Invercargill. Here you’ll find Slope Point {the southernmost point of the South Island}, the Cathedral Caves {tide dependant}, and the Petrified Forest. If you’re lucky you may also see a few penguins or seals!

Riverton and the South Coast - we love just popping out to Riverton for a day! From Invercargill, you can do a day trip along the South Coast via Riverton. During the summer the beaches to stop at are the Riverton Rocks, Monkey Island, and Gemstone Beach. The locals say that Gemstone Beach after a storm is the best time to go hunting for precious stones.

Fiordland - to me this is like a second home. All my childhood summers were spent on the lake in Te Anau or tramping in the mountains. Te Anau is home to Lake Te Anau, the Kepler Track {and the Kepler Challenge}, glow worm caves, some great camping and fishing spots {so my Grandpa says!} and it’s the gateway to Milford Sound. Te Anau is a 2.5 hour drive from Invercargill and is just stunning. You can do a day trip here, but you’d definitely want to stay a week.

Queenstown - if you’re keen on skiing, Queenstown is where you want to be. Doing a day trip from Invercargill is perfect for this as you can leave at 6am and be up the mountain at the Remarks and ready to ski before 9am. We have done this many times and it definitely beats Queenstown’s pricy accommodation and early morning traffic jams.


Must-have Apps
Instagram - check out the hashtags #invercargill and #mysouthland for the locals favourite places.

A weather app - essential as the weather can be rather unpredictable in these parts! It’s also handy to know when tides are changing for when you visit places like the cathedral caves.

Geocaching - if you’re keen on adventure.. There’s plenty of gorgeous spots around here with geocaches hidden!

BURP - another app I’ve used occasionally. It’s designed for breastfeeding mamas so you know where the breastfeeding-friendly cafes are in town.
Direct flights only from Christchurch or Wellington so it’s expensive to fly in to Invercargill. I recommend a road trip from Dunedin or Christchurch instead. Our little country is so diverse and a road trip is a great way to take it all in and stop wherever you like!

Always bring warm clothes, even in summer. We are known for experiencing 4 seasons in a day! Invercargill often has a cold breeze, so even if it’s sunny outside it may be a little on the cool side. That’s all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed this tour of my hometown!"

- Hannah
Thank you for sharing, Hannah! Also, don't forget to check out her blog for great youth ministry tips. If you would like to share your city or travel destination please send me an e-mail at coffeeandcleveland@gmail.com. From there I will send you more information on requirements for posting.


  1. It's a great feeling meeting somebody through blogging and finding out that they're the best person, like, ever. :)

    I so can't wait to go to NZ one day soon. I have been planning to go there for a while now and I know I will sometime soon hopefully!!


    1. Yes, I agree! Bloggers are some of the nicest, down-to-earth people in the world!


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