History and culture in interesting Invercargill

Discover Invercargill's grand collection of historic architecture and immersive art galleries.

Find your favourite Invercargill art gallery

Invercargill's love of art oozes out at every corner. There are many museums and art galleries that showcase Invercargill's creativity, past and present.

A great place to start your art appreciation tour of Southland is He Waka Tuia. Here you'll find an impressive collection of works from early European paintings through to modern art. Another excellent public art gallery is the Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore. Nicknamed the 'Goreggenheim', it displays the renowned John Money Collection. You can also find works by major New Zealand modern artist Ralph Hotere.

To pay homage to the amazing Burt Munro, visit E Hayes and Sons. You can see the genuine World's Fastest Indian, the motorcycle that Burt used to gain his world record.

There are also numerous smaller galleries featuring work of Invercargill artists. These are often in historic or unusual buildings. Check out Hanan Gallery, a boutique gallery in a Victorian building or the Otautau Gallery in an old Methodist church. Or take a walk around the streets of Invercargill to find art all around you. Talented artists from South Sea Spray have created large-scale and colourful murals to brighten up the city.

See the world's fastest Indian

Burt Munro is one of Invercargill's most famous people. On his modified Indian Scout, he set an under-1000 cc world record at Bonneville on 26 August 1967. The movie 'The World's Fastest Indian', which tells Burt's amazing story, starred Anthony Hopkins.

There are two ways to pay homage to the marvellous Burt Munro. You can visit E Hayes and Sons, a hardware and engineering supply shop. It includes a large collection of vintage motorcycles, vehicles and machines. But pride of place is the genuine World's Fastest Indian, the motorcycle that Burt used to gain his world record. Another way to appreciate Burt is to attend the Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs. Located on Oreti Beach, it's an awesome motorcycle-racing event. It's held on the very same beach that Burt used for his Invercargill practice runs before heading to Bonneville.

Burt Munro died in 1978 and is buried at Invercargill's Eastern Cemetery.

Follow the Invercargill Heritage Trail

Pack some comfortable shoes, because Invercargill is a great place for walking. Strolling around the heritage buildings and places of interest won't wear you out as the city is mostly flat.

The Invercargill Heritage Trail captures heritage sites and beautiful open spaces. You'll discover a city that's glorious and well-planned. Its streets follow a grid pattern specified by New Zealand's first Surveyor General in 1876. Pick up a trail brochure from the local visitor information centre, then set afoot. Discover the magnificent 1906 Civic Theatre to the soaring 1888 Invercargill Water Tower. Form the exquisite 1896 Railway Hotel, Bank Corner to the memorable Troopers' Memorial.

The heritage trail leads you to Queens Park, 80 hectares of outdoor gorgeousness. You can also see Anderson Park with both native forest and formal gardens. The park also leads you to the pretty Otepuni Gardens, with its elegant band rotunda.

Southland has numerous heritage trails and museums that let you discover the region's history. Uncover local Māori stories at Te Hikoi and colonisation stories at Switzers. Check out prehistoric wonders at Tumu Toka Curioscape and industrial heritage at Transport World.

Enjoy amazing machines

An 'only in Invercargill' attraction that's full of Instagram material is Classic Motorcycle Mecca. If you admire two-wheeled transport, you will drool over this collection of motorcycles. The motorcycle museum covers the A to Z - from AJS and Ariel to Schwinn and Zundapp.

If you prefer transport on four wheels, Bill Richardson Transport World will have you admiring a rare collection of cars. There are hundreds of vehicles here, including absolute classics like Model T Fords and retro VW Kombis.

For something different, check out Dig This in Otepuni Avenue. This is New Zealand's first heavy equipment playground. The earth will move, as you take the big machines through their paces.

There's a quirky side to Invercargill's character. It's easy to see when you visit Demolition World in Bain Street. A destination constructed from demolished buildings and recycled things. A special treat here is the chance to interact with chickens and alpacas.

Keep exploring Invercargill & Southland

Mural image courtesy of Great South