|Southland is New Zealand’s southernmost region. It consists mainly of the southwestern portion of the South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura. It includes Southland District, Gore District and the city of Invercargill. The region covers over 3.1 million hectares and spans over 3,400 km of coast.
Weather conditions in Southland are cooler than in the other regions of New Zealand due to its distance from the Equator. However, they can be broken down into three types: the temperate oceanic climate of the coastal regions, the continental climate of the interior and the wetter mountain climate of Fiordland to the west. Due to its closer proximity to the South Pole, the Aurora Australis or “Southern Lights” are more commonly seen than in other regions.
With a population of 50,200 Invercargill, the region’s main centre and seat of local government, makes up half of Southland’s total. Six other centres have populations over 1,000: Gore, Mataura, Winton, Riverton, Bluff and Te Anau. Most of Southland’s population is concentrated on the eastern Southland Plains. Fiordland, the western part of the region, is almost totally devoid of permanent human settlement.