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A Side Trip to Bluff

If time permits, take a drive to Bluff to find Tiwai Smelter Tours, NZ Aluminium Smelters Ltd. (tel. 03/218-5494). This free tour is much more interesting than you might think and is available weekdays at 10am, with only three tours per week. Bookings are essential; there are special clothing requirements for safety reasons. Children 11 and under will not be admitted. Bluff's Maritime Museum, 241 Foreshore Rd. (tel. 03/212-7534; bluffmuseum@xtra.co.nz), is open 10am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday and from 1 to 5pm on weekends, and presents good coverage of Southland's maritime history. Admission is NZ$2 for adults, NZ$1 kids ages 5 to 15. If you visit during oyster season, try and attend the annual Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival (www.bluffoysterfest.co.nz), which is held in late April at the Bluff Events Centre on Gore Road. More information on this tiny town can be found at www.bluff.co.nz. Bluff is 27km (17 miles) south of Invercargill. In Invercargill, get on Dee Street, which becomes State Highway 1; the drive will take about 30 minutes.

A Side Trip to Cosy Nook

If you're looking for an interesting country drive out of Invercargill, go to Cosy Nook, a delightful fishing settlement on one of the world's wildest coastlines. Near Riverton, it's well signposted from State Highway 99. You'll find cute old fishing boats and cottages and creative signage. Riverton Rocks Beach is also a treat, with gorgeous little green pebbles all over the place. It's about a 45-minute drive from Invercargill. Just over the hill to the southwest, you'll find Colac Bay - one big horseshoe swoop of surfing heaven, with a cluster of little cottages on the foreshore.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.