The small but busy fishing town and port of BLUFF, 27km south of Invercargill, occupies a slender-waisted peninsula with its man-made harbour on one side and wild Foveaux Strait on the other. Continuously settled since 1824, Bluff is the oldest European town in New Zealand and it is showing its age a little. Parts look decidedly run-down and most visitors are here to hop on the ferry to Stewart Island, but the place has a great setting, a long history and some fine short walks. Unless you have your own vehicle, seeing the town will involve a good deal of walking, as it spreads along the shoreline for about 6km.
Bluff’s famous oysters are celebrated at the annual Bluff Oyster & Food Festival (third weekend in May; w bluffoysterfest.co.nz), an event the local organizers claim is “unsophisticated and proud of it”.