The most southernmost town in New Zealand, Bluff (or The Bluff as it is locally known) is perhaps the most European of all the settlements in the country. Called Campbelltown until 1917, the city was officially renamed after the 265 meter conical hill that towers above it. One of the farthest corners of the British Empire, the inaugural Royal Tour of New Zealand by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, concluded at Bluff in January 1954. Nowadays however, it is the Bluff oysters that are the stars of the show. Reputed to be the best in the world, these local heroes are what have really put Bluff on the map and are celebrated every May with a lively festival honouring Ostrea chilensis (that’s Latin for Bluff oyster).
But gastronomy aside (and it is mostly oyster related), Bluff offers the adventurous traveller much in the way activity. Gateway to Stewart Island, day trippers here might enjoy hopping on the ferry for the hour long trip to Stewart Island, or New Zealand’s third island. Unspoilt, tranquil and stunning, Stewart Island is a showcase for New Zealand’s undiscovered tourism spots due to its privileged (yet remote) position in the world.
However, for those who wish to stay on the mainland, the Bluff Maritime Museum is a “must visit” for anyone travelling along the Southern Scenic Route, with fascinating historical information about the many early shipwrecks in these challenging southern waters and coastlines. The comprehensive network of walking tracks will delight the ornithologists amongst you – just don’t forget your binoculars!