A mollyhawk. © Dianne Manson/Stringer

Loved by the locals: Southland

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From Great Walks and day trips to remote and beautiful beaches and Must-Do Stewart Island, check out a local's picks for the Southern part of New Zealand.

1. Visit Porpoise/Curio bays

Hectors dolphins. Beanbags shaped like sea lions, and sometimes also the real thing. A petrified forest stretch of coast. Beautiful sandy beach. Fun waves. What more could you ask for? Stay a day, a week, a month. There are plenty of accommodation options and an ambiance that will make you not want to leave.

2. Walk to Key Summit

This is a track from The Divide on the highway between Te Anau and Milford Sound. Also the first part of the Routeburn Track, a one to two-hour gentle uphill walk on a well-formed trail leads to spectacular views of the Darran Mountains as well as over Hollyford Valley stretching out to Martins Bay on the West Coast.

Not impressed

A post shared by Casey (@caseytheboy) on Mar 16, 2017 at 1:28pm PDT

3. Travel to Stewart Island

By air or sea, it doesnt matter. Just go.

It surprises me how many Kiwis wonder about our third largest island but never make the effort to see it for themselves.

There is heaps to do, but make sure you visit Ulva Island to experience how the birdlife used to be before all of the introduced predators took over.

4. Hike one of the Great Walks

It doesnt matter which one as they are all incredible. There are four to choose from in Southland: Milford, Kepler, Routeburn and Rakiura. You will need to book the huts beforehand and, during peak season, some of them can get rather busy. But they are busy for a very good reason.

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Things to do while you're here

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Things to do

Remote Southland: the quirk and the sublime

There's a great deal to love in the emptiness and wildness of Curio and Porpoise bays. Particularly when you're looking for uncrowded waves to ride. Read the story . . . 

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Nugget Point Tokatā walks

Enjoy dramatic coastal views from the Tokatā Lighthouse and spot seals, penguins and other seabirds on these short walks. Read the story . . . 

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Get outdoors

Rakiura National Park: glowing skies

Around 85 percent of Stewart Island is included in Rakiura National Park, our most recently formed national park which exudes all the charm of a world on its own. Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

Bluff Oyster Festival: unsophisticated and proud of it!

Where are the internationally renowned delicacy known as Bluff oysters likely to taste best? Bluff, did you say? You’re good at this! Exactly. Read the story . . . 

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