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Urban Area
Extent:Makarewa to Woodend;
west to Otatara
Territorial Authority
Name:Invercargill City
Mayor:Tim Shadbolt
Land area:491km²
Extent:Makarewa to Bluff;
Oreti Beach to
Regional Council
Name:Environment Southland

Invercargill (Waihopai in Māori) is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost settlements in the world. It is the commercial centre of the Southland region. It lies in the heart of the wide expanse of the Southland Plains on the Oreti or New River some 18 km north of Bluff, which is the southernmost town in the South Island. It is bordered by large areas of conservation land and marine reserves, including Fiordland National Park covering the south-west corner of the South Island. There is much rich farmland to the north, as far as the beautiful lakes of neighbouring Otago.

In 1856 a petition was put forward to Thomas Gore Browne, the Governor of New Zealand, for a port at Bluff. Browne agreed to the petition and gave the name Invercargill to the settlement north of the port. Inver comes from the Scots Gaelic word inbhir meaning a river's mouth and Cargill is in honour of Captain William Cargill, who was at the time the Superintendent of Otago, of which Southland was then a part.

During the mid 1950s, Invercargill Airport was used as an American base for Operation Deep Freeze. Large planes destined for McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic used the airport, assisted in takeoff by JATO rockets under their wings.

Invercargill is home to the Southern Institute of Technology, which has introduced a free-fees scheme. The scheme was largely responsible for rejuvenating the city when it was in a steady state of population decline.

Queen's Park is just north of the city centre, with botanical gardens, an aviary, sports grounds, and the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Anderson Park, on the northern boundary of Invercargill, is a large Georgian-style residence set in 24 hectares of landscaped gardens. The house displays Invercargill's extensive collection of New Zealand art.

As a regional centre, it has a large number of shops. Due to the Invercargill Licensing Trust, alcohol is not sold in supermarkets, the monopoly trust putting all profits back into the community. Many streets in the city, especially in the centre and main shopping district, are named after British rivers. These include River Dee, Tyne, River Esk, River Don, Thames, Mersey, River Ness|, River Yarrow, River Spey, River Tay, and River Eye rivers.

Cnr of Esk and Dee Streets, looking up Esk st, one of the main shopping streets of Invercargill.

Invercargill is at the southern end of the Main South Line railway, which extends up the east coast to Christchurch and Lyttelton via Dunedin. Until the cancellation of the Southerner in 2002, Invercargill had the southernmost passenger railway station in the world. Passenger trains no longer call at Invercargill, except for occasional excursions. The Bluff Branch extends south from Invercargill and has been freight-only since 1967. It is also home of the SBS Invitational Amateur golf tournament which is held every year at the beginning of March.

In recent years, publicity has been brought to the southern city by the election of Tim Shadbolt, a colourful and outspoken former student activist, as mayor. He once appeared on a cheese ad stating "I don't mind where, as long as I'm Mayor".


[edit] Climate

A temperate oceanic climate similar to that of the British Isles (the rain is warmer in summer) prevails in Invercargill, where the mean daily temperature ranges from 5.2°C in July to 13.8°C in January. Precipitation averages 1064 mm annually, and measurable snowfall is occasionally seen during the winter months of June to September. It has an average of 1580 hours of sunshine per annum.

The average temperature high ranges from 18.4°C in January to 11.1°C in August. Due to the relatively high latitude (46° 42'), the city enjoys nearly 16 hours of daylight at the summer solstice in late December.

Invercargill is "The city of Water and Light". A recent sign also states "Invercargill, where dreams can come true" with an image from the 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian.

Panorama of Invercargill from the town's historic watertower. Queen's Park can be seen toward the right of the image.

[edit] The Invercargill March

Invercargill is probably best-known internationally for the Invercargill March, a stirring piece of military music written in 1900 by the composer Alex F. Lithgow, who lived in Invercargill from the age of six, although born in Scotland. The march was written for the City of Invercargill, which Alex Lithgow dearly missed while he was away.

"Invercargill" rates alongside old favourites such as the Gladiator March, Liberty Bell, the Radetsky March, and other stirring Sousa marches. The Invercargill March is especially popular in the United States of America. It is a favorite of the US Marines, and was the Regimental March of the 56th Infantry Regiment of the New York Guard during World War II. The Invercargill Caladonian Pipe Band continues the Scottish tradition today.

[edit] Famous Invercargillites

Invercargill Water Tower, taken from Leet St

[edit] Sister Cities

[edit] Visiting Invercargill

Invercargill [1] is the most southerly city in New Zealand. It is the service city for the farms of the Southland plains at southern end of the South Island. Built in the late 19th and early 20th century, its wide streets and century old buildings give the visitor a unique feeling of stepping back in time to when business was conducted in a more sedate and considered manner and the 'streets were paved' with Otago gold.

[edit] Understand

Invercargill is named after William Cargill, a prominent pioneer Otago settler.

Invercargill's wide streets bear the names of the rivers of Scotland and Northern England.

The city is the service town for the farmers of Southland's fertile plains.

[edit] Get in

[edit] By bus

There are bus services from Dunedin to Invercargill as well as to Queenstown and other places in the southern lakes district.

[edit] By car

Invercargill is about 2.5 hours by road from Dunedin, along State Highway 1.

[edit] By plane

Invercargill Airport is just to the west of town. A flight from Christchurch to Invercargill takes about an hour in a turboprop aircraft. On a clear day the flight is spectacular, with the Southern Alps to the west of the flight path. If flying south to Invercargill be sure to request a window seat on the right or starboard side of the aircraft (request port or left if flying out to Christchurch.) Mount Cook, which is visible about half way through the flight, is merely the biggest of the many massive peaks of the Southern Alps.

[edit] Talk

The inhabitants of Southland, with their Scots ancestry; the nearest New Zealand gets to having different dialects. Many talk with a Southland burr. The rs are rolled in a distinctive manner.

[edit] See

  • Bluff - at the bottom of the South Island, the closest place on the mainland to Antarctica.
  • Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter - This industrial plant is the reason the Manapouri Power Station was built. There are regular tours of the plant, though visitors should leave their watches, electronics and jewellery in a safe place as the strong magnetic fields in the plant can damage sensitive equipment.

[edit] Eat

[edit] Get out

Invercargill can be a base to explore southern New Zealand. Visit Stewart Island, Fiordland, Milford Sound, Queenstown as well as the Catlins.

[edit] Sleep

10 minutes from Invercargill on a private forest reserve is Bushy Point Homestay.This is an ideal stay for birders before or following a trip to Stewart Island. This is also the easiest site in New Zealand to see the endangered South Island Fernbird. [2]

[edit] References

  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4. 
  • Some information on this page may be sourced from Wikipedia or Wikitravel

[edit] External links


[edit] References

This article uses material from Wikipedia, "Invercargill" and Wikitravel, "Invercargill"

Any material derived from Wikitravel articles is released under the Creative Commons Attribution share alike licence

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