You'll enjoy the warmest of welcomes in New Zealand's southernmost city. And then the fun begins.

Invercargill is the gateway to some of the country's most inspirational sights and experiences. A dramatic coastline, pristine forests, parklike countryside, and rivers packed with trout. All of them waiting to be enjoyed, without the crowds and queues of more famous destinations.

This is where Burt Munro (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the movie The World's Fastest Indian) tinkered in his workshop for two decades until he'd built a record-breaking motorcycle. See it – along with over 100 other classic vehicles – in the unique environment of E. Hayes & Sons hardware store.

If that inspires you to get on the road, hire a car and make Invercargill the start of a southern road trip. You're only a leisurely drive from some of New Zealand's most glorious outdoor experiences. Go fly fishing in 27 world-class rivers, and test your casting skills on the local brown trout. Chances are, you'll have the river to yourself.

Or point your steering wheel in the direction of the Catlins, and watch fur seals and yellow-eyed penguins in their natural environment. Discover a fossilised Jurassic forest at Curio Bay and revel in the natural beauty of an untouched coastline. Invercargill is also the jumping off point to New Zealand's third island (and newest national park), Stewart Island/Rakiura.

But you don't have to leave town to have a great time. Invercargill itself has fantastic cafés, restaurants and historic sights to keep you happily occupied. The seafood alone is worth the trip, including the not-to-be-missed Bluff oysters, in season from March to August.

To get a real taste of the region, take the brewery tour at Invercargill Brewery. You'll get an insight into the craft beers and ciders that have gained international accolades and enjoy some samples of their range.

Southland image courtesy of Venture Southland; Iconic Bluff signpost image courtesy of Venture Southland