Three of Southland’s best museums
Learn about ancient geology, a former gold mining town, and one of the oldest European settlements in the country.
Tumu Toka CurioScape
Located at the southern entrance to the Catlins, Curio Bay (Tumu Toka) is home to a 180 million year old petrified forest and rare and endangered wildlife. It’s also home to the small but interactive Tumu Toka Curioscape Gateway museum which does an excellent job of explaining how vast swaths of mātai and kauri forests were buried under the seabed, where they petrified. To see: curioscape.co.nz
* The best kid-friendly road trip you’ve never heard of
*World famous in New Zealand: Riverton’s Te Hikoi Southern Journey Heritage Museum
* The curious characters of the Catlins
You need to choose the right time to visit this Waikaia museum as it is only open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. But it’s worth it: there are around 2,200 objects related to agriculture, the region’s gold mining past and Chinese colonization, as well as 2,800 bottles – not counting the 20,000 bottles used in the construction of the house in adjoining bottles. To see: waikaia.co.nz
Te Hikoi Museum
Southland’s town of Riverton-Aparima is also one of the oldest in Aotearoa. With a view of the Pourakino River, the Te Hikoi Museum punches well above its weight. Sit down to watch a film that sets the context for colonial life in the area, then stroll through military exhibits and interactive exhibits that visitors of all ages will enjoy. To see: tehikoi.co.nz
Stay safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Face coverings are mandatory on all flights and public transport. Proof of vaccination and vaccine exemption may be required at some locations under the traffic light system. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.