Invercargill Tourist Attractions
Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost town, lies in an open plain on the banks of the New River estuary. It was laid out from 1856 onwards by the town planner John T Thomson on a geometric plan, with broad streets and open spaces.
The town takes its name from William Cargill, one of the Scottish founding fathers of Dunedin; the prefix inver refers to its position at the mouth of a river. Many of the streets are named after Scottish rivers.Originally the New River estuary served as a natural harbor, but its functions as a harbor were later taken over by Bluff, at the southern tip of the South Island. The lush Southland pastures were for many years the town's main source of income. Later a number of large slaughterhouses and meat-freezing plants were established, and a further boost was given to Invercargill's economy by the construction of an aluminum smelter at Bluff.Lennel House, a mansion set in a beautiful garden, was built in 1880 by John T Thomson; it is still in private ownership.The town's principal churches, all built in brick, are close together: St John's (1887; Anglican), the neo-Byzantine First Church (1915; Presbyterian) and St Mary's (1894-1905 by FW Petre; RC). St Mary's has a beautiful interior in white Oamaru limestone.
Southland Museum and Art Gallery
The town's principal sight is the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. It has fine natural history collections from the Southland region (including petrified wood from nearby Curio Bay) and relics of the wild days of the whalers, but its particular treasures are its examples of Maori arts and crafts. The art gallery is housed in a striking pyramidal building at the entrance to Queen's Park.
Address: Queens Park, 108 Gala Street, New Zealand
Opening hours: 8:30am-5pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
The Tuatara House provides near-natural conditions for specimens of this lizard-like reptile that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs and is now very rare.Tuatara House is located in the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
The Kelvin Chambers (1864) recall Southland's short-lived independent provincial government; the region broke away from Otago in 1861 but was reincorporated in it in 1870.
The town hall, a symmetrical building built in 1906 by ER Wilson, reflects the prosperity of the town in those days.