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Southernmost Settlements in the World

Aug 17, 2007
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand and one of the southernmost settlements in the world. It is the commercial centre of the Southland region. It lies in the heart of the wide expanse of the Southland Plains on the Oreti or New River some eighteen km north of Bluff, which is the southernmost town in the South Island. It sits amid rich farmland that is bordered by large areas of conservation land and marine reserves, including Fiordland National Park covering the south west corner of the South Island.

New Zealand is well served by air transport, with all cities, major towns and resorts linked to the national network. The main domestic airline is Air New Zealand and commuter airlines link the smaller towns.

The first Europeans to set foot on the South Islands southern coast were sealers in the late 1700s. Others intent on harvesting flax came in the early 1800s and whalers began arriving from 1829. Sailors, traders, and entrepreneurs followed.

Maori had arrived over 600 years earlier. Bountiful fish and birds attracted seafaring Maori to Bluff. They became exceptional crafters of stone tools, supplying them to Maori throughout the country. Other smaller settlements were based on the rivers. Maori quickly became involved in the growing economy. Amongst other things, they were instrumental in the flax trade, whaling and supplying ships with food. Each Maori settlement had its own name and much of the region we now call Southland, is referred to by Maori.

The idea that there should be a cohesive city called Invercargill was a European concept. It started to take shape when people from the Scottish settlement of Dunedin began buying land for sheep runs in the far south. The farmers needed to import stock from Australia. So in 1856 they presented a petition to Thomas Gore Browne, the Governor of New Zealand, for a port at Bluff. The Governor consented and at the same time suggested a corresponding township be called Invercargill. He wanted to pay tribute to William Cargill, a high profile Scottish pioneer involved in the administration and settlement of the Otago/Southland region. The name stuck, and soon after, chief surveyor John Turnbull Thomson declared the site. His careful planning of reserves and wide streets remains characteristic of Invercargill.

Invercargill is blessed with four unique and attractive eighteen hole golf courses, all within minutes of the city centre.

For indoor swimming at the most versatile pool in New Zealand, Splash Palace is an Olympic sized pool and one of the greatest adventures to hit Invercargill. On the way to Tiwai Point, Awarua Bay is a popular spot for swimming, rowing, power boats, water skiing and yachting.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Invercargill Rental Site
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