Invercargill offers a relaxed pace of life with wide streets, low traffic, spacious parks and gardens, Victorian architecture and impressive sports facilities, including New Zealand's first indoor velodrome. The location is such that views of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights are common.
The country's lowest average home prices, coupled with nationally competitive wages, offer many families a higher discretionary income than they can enjoy elsewhere in New Zealand.
An agricultural powerhouse, Southland is home to the world's largest raw milk processing plant, along with New Zealand's only aluminum smelter. The world's ranked national parks attract many tourists, low house prices attract residents, and low fees attract students to the local Institute of Technology.
Early European settlements were dominated by the Scots, and the mellow residents of the Southland region – possibly New Zealand's only regional accent – are a reminder of this heritage.
Southland is part of the Hapori Communities Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori pilot program, which lays the welcome mat for newcomers: recent migrants, ex-refugees and international students.
economy and industry
The main points of the region's economy are agriculture, led by dairy farming - Edendale is the largest raw milk processing plant in the world - and sheep. Bluff's aluminum foundry is another big employer. Tourism is important. Fiordland National Park attracts about a quarter of the tourist dollars spent annually in New Zealand. Forestry is also significant, as is fishing. The Southern Institute of Technology offers zero-rate tuition for many of its courses, which makes education increasingly important.
Southland is cooler and wetter than other parts of New Zealand. Invercargill temperatures range between 9-19°C in summer (occasionally reaching 25°C) and 6-9°C in winter. Invercargill is New Zealand's second windiest city. Its relatively high latitude means that the region enjoys almost 16 hours of daylight in the height of summer, but receives only about eight hours in midwinter. Latitude also means occasional sightings of Aurora Australis, the "southern lights".
Invercargill has a population of around 57,000 and is seven hours by car from Christchurch and one and forty-five hours by plane from Auckland. Bluff serves as a seaport and is home to the fleet that gathers fresh oysters from the Strait of Foveaux from March until around August. Southland has two distinct landscapes - sprawling plains of fertile land crossed by trout-rich rivers, and Fiordland's rugged, isolated coastline, coves, lakes and mountains.