12 Hours Invercargill

Food on a table at the Grill in Invercargill.

Make the most of your time in Invercargill, one of the southernmost cities in the world. Known for top notch hospitality, cheese rolls and rolling green hills, Invercargill features the very best of Southland cuisine, culture, fashion, design, art and entertainment. You’ll need to use your time wisely to get a sampling of it all.

In this 12 hour guide we’ll take you all over Southland’s largest city in a way that keeps your interest piqued and tummy full. Whether you’re passing through on your way to a nearby wilderness adventure or have plenty of time to work with, these spots are not to be missed.

Morning

New Zealand is known for great coffee and brunch and Invercargill is no exception to this. Jump start your day with a sustainable and delicious breakfast, then check out one of the most interesting and engaging museums we’ve found to date.

Bill Richardson Transport World

491 Tay Street, Hawthorndale, Invercargill, Southland

Chances are you came to Invercargill by way of car, bus, plane, or a combination thereof. Bill Richardson Transport World is nothing short of a menagerie celebrating all things that ‘go’. Every room in this seemingly endless building is expertly curated, and nearly all of the 300-odd vehicles are roadworthy, making this place a living museum. More than 200 vintage petrol pumps give a nod to the stuff that powers our modern economy. A collection of vintage prams and lawn mowers remind visitors that transport is about so much more than flash old cars. Even the toilets are themed.

Lunch

Don’t let lunch be forgotten, you’ll need to keep your reserves up to complete the remainder of your action packed Invercargill day. Head toThe Batch for a meal you’ll be sure to remember. 

The Batch

173 Spey Street, Invercargill, Southland

Pop in to The Batch for lunch and you’ll soon understand why this cafe has been around for almost a decade and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As owner Donna Hamilton says, “If we’re going to serve it we’re going to make it ourselves”. The team grows all the herbs and flowers used and the cabinet and menu are bursting with colour and flavour as a result. Even the jams, relishes and hollandaise sauce are made in house. And be sure to try their savoury scones with your lunch as they’re famous in their own right.

Afternoon

Get your fix when it comes to retail therapy and your sweet tooth while you’re in Invercargill.

Yours Faithfully

32 Kelvin Street, Invercargill, Southland

For a bit of retail therapy visit Liz Thomas Designer Clothing. Housed in one of Invercargill’s oldest buildings this shop boasts a vaulted ceiling, antique trim and warm lighting which creates an air of old timely glamour in which to try on new era fashion. Liz Thomas offers one of the most complete collections of Kiwi labels in the South Island with luxurious pieces from Yu Mei, Nom*d, Deadly Ponies, Taylor, Jimmy D, Jane Daniels, Zambessi, MILD RED, Salassi and Nyne.

Seriously Good Chocolate Company

147 Spey Street, Invercargill, Southland

Anyone with even the tiniest sweet tooth would be remiss to skip the Seriously Good Chocolate Shop whilst in Invercargill. Jane Stanton has built this chocolate business over the last twenty years with one goal - to use chocolate as a medium with which to promote New Zealand to the world. Check out her world famous wine chocolates and sheep’s poo - freeze dried boysenberries covered in milk chocolate. They’re tart yet creamy and extremely moreish. If it’s a chilly day, order a proper hot chocolate to soothe your soul.

E Hayes Motorworks Collection

168 Dee Street, Invercargill, Southland

Now you'll be full up on chocolate, pay a visit to the E Hayes Motorworks Collection to view Burt Munro's authentic, original and legendary 1920 customised Indian motorcycle on which he set a 1967 world record.

The Pantry

133 Grace Street, Appleby, Invercargill, Southland

Once you've perused the rest of E Hayes's extensive collection of vintage and classic motorbikes, cars and machines, pop into The Pantry, a non-profit store and cafe where all proceeds are invested back into community projects. It’s a positive feedback loop that just makes sense and has been a hub for community, sustainability and learning since 2017.

Evening

Wrap up your day in Invercargill with craft brews in a sunshine filled courtyard followed by dinner at a local establishment that’s been drawing crowds for three generations yet still manages to be humble and unassuming. Sound idyllic? It is.

Tuatara Café & Bar

30-32 Dee Street, Invercargill, Southland

Even if it’s not yet 5 p.m. find your way to Tuatara Cafe for some of the best craft beer and cider that the South Island has to offer. In addition to craft pours from the likes of Two Thumb, Three Boys, Eruption and Beer Baroness, Tuatara has their very own craft beer and cider on tap. Made with spray-free heritage fruit sourced from Otago, their ‘Gadoochi’ cider is delicious and lives somewhere far outside the scope of cider you find at the supermarket. Chase it all down with one of their delicious handcrafted pizzas.

Louies Café & Tapas Bar

142 Dee Street, Invercargill, Southland

Wrap up your 12 hour tour of Invercargill at one of the most legendary spots in town, Louie’s. With a following that runs three generations deep in some cases, you are in for a treat here. The menu is small and simple yet vast when it comes to the number of carefully curated flavours, foraged garnishes, locally sourced ingredients and artful presentations. Locally caught seafood is expertly prepared and an extensive wine list plus a dimly lit atmosphere make this place special in its own right.