On the Family Tree of New Zealand cities, Invercargill could sometimes be compared to the cousin you only see every now and then – you know he's a great guy but you just haven't had the time to visit him much lately. It's such a shame that Southland's main city tends to live in the shadow of some of the country's larger urban areas because it's got so much to offer and will make an excellent addition to your tour of the South Island.
Invercargill does have one thing that sets it head and shoulders above all other kiwi cities – the best oysters in the world! The waters of the Foveaux Strait between the South Island and Stewart Island are teeming with blue cod, crayfish and oysters. The fresh clear waters there allow Bluff Oysters (named after Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand) to grow slowly and full of flavour.
It's not just locals who claim that Bluff Oysters are the tastiest in the world. They're a delicacy all over New Zealand and command a hefty price around the country when the oyster season kicks off. Meanwhile, international visitors rave about how superior to regular oysters they are.
You'll have your pick of great restaurants and cafes serving up fresh Bluff Oysters in Invercargill, just follow your nose and the hungry looking locals. Barnes Oysters on Spey Street is a particularly popular spot, as evidenced by the constant queues out the door.
To truly gorge on these delicious seafood delicacies take the 30 kilometre drive from Invercargill to Bluff for the annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, which takes place on 23 May this year. Enjoy a rip-roaring line-up of great entertainment as you devour more Bluff Oysters than you thought it was possible to eat.
You can't legitimately claim to have had a New Zealand food and wine holiday unless you've tried delicious Bluff Oysters.