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You'll touch one of the world's southernmost points when you visit Invercargill in New Zealand. Surrounded by wilderness, it's an ideal base for a camping trip along the Rakiura Track or for visiting the Waituna Lagoon's bright waters. Adventurous types will feel at home here, with opportunities for scuba diving, kayaking and mountain biking. In the city, get a taste of local culture at the museums and galleries or wander streets lined with Art Deco facades.
Experience the city's heritage at an Invercargill hostel in a restored Victorian villa or stay at a lodge with inviting common areas and lots of greenery. Most Invercargill hostels offer free Wi-Fi with your stay, making it easy to organise the next stop on your trip. Look out for Invercargill backpackers hostels with self-catering kitchens so you can have a home-cooked meal every now and then or choose a hostel with its own on-site coffee shop.
Invercargill's Central Business District is home to the bustling goings on of everyday life, as well as museums and restaurants serving a range of foods. For something a little different, visit Demolition World on Bain Street, a bizarre 'secret town' built from a junkyard that includes a haunted theatre, a historic school and a sweet store. Stewart Island is ideal for quiet days on the beach, diving and heading out to sea in a kayak.
You can spend a day at Queens Park, an Edwardian park with an observatory, golf club and rose garden. Or head to the 32km Oreti Beach Track to relax on the sand or walk the trail next to streams and sloping dunes. Grab a mountain bike and pedal through pine forests at Sandy Point or look for rare birds along the estuary walkway at Pleasure Bay Lagoon. Lazy afternoons can be spent with a cappuccino in Esk Street's shopping and pedestrian zone. You could also drive the epic Southern Scenic Route, which runs from Invercargill all the way to Queenstown.
Invercargill Airport is close to the city at just a 5-minute taxi journey from the business district. You can fly here from Christchurch in 3 hours. Coaches can take you from other major destinations in New Zealand, but expect a long journey time; Christchurch is a 10-hour trip. Dunedin is a 2.5-hour drive away. Around town, flag down a local bus or go green with a hired bicycle.