Upcoming Dates of Southland Anniversary Day
2023: Tuesday 11th April
2024: Tuesday 2nd April
2025: Tuesday 22nd April
Southland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in the Southland region of New Zealand. However, it is not a national public holiday and is only observed in the Southland region.
The Province of Southland
The southernmost region of New Zealand is Southland. Located at the bottom of the South Island, this region takes in the Fiordland National Park in the west, and eastwards down, including Gore and south to the Catlands Forest Park.
The main centre of this region is Invercargill.
Southland’s breathtaking beauty includes untouched rainforests, productive farmlands, and rough beaches, making it New Zealand’s top destination for nature and wildlife.
There is a plethora of hiking trails, cycling paths, fishing holes, vintage cars, the renowned Bluff oyster, and the region’s signature cheese roll.
The Anniversary Date
On April 1, 1861, the Province of Southland and the Province of Otago formally split apart. As a result, it remembers a “provincial birthday” rather than a formal founding or settlement date.
The anniversary date was aimed to be as close to the 1st of April as possible. It was decided then to make this a Tuesday to follow the Easter break.
This then created a five-day weekend, from Good Friday through to Easter Monday and now “Easter Tuesday” for Southland.
Southland Anniversary Day has only been recognised since 2011.
The celebrations of Southland’s Anniversary Day include fairs, historically and culturally informative events, food stalls, concerts, and a slew of other activities in various towns throughout the region, just like in other parts of New Zealand.
What Better Way to Spend Southland Anniversary Day?
If the outdoors and nature are your thing, then Southland is the place to be.
Having the extra long weekend to celebrate Southland’s Day, and have time away from work, is the perfect excuse to get out and explore this area.
Fiordland National Park
Home to fiords and the natural beauty of Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtless Sound, this area of New Zealand is unique. Viewed from a boat or a kayak, looking up to the mountains rising from the sea is a remarkable experience.
The Milford, Kepler, and Routeburn Tracks, three of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, are located in Fiordland – a testament to its immense natural beauty.
Nugget Point and the Catlins Coast
A must-do in the Catlins is visiting Nugget Point Lighthouse, a world of waterfalls, coastal hikes, and awesome scenery. Discover secret lakes and jaw-dropping waterfalls as you travel through podocarp forests and along magnificent coasts.
Sea lions, dolphins, and the uncommon but distinctive Hoiho – the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, are just a few of the animals that call this wild stretch of coastline home.
This area includes the South Island’s southernmost point, Slope Point.
One hour on the ferry from Bluff takes you to Stewart Island. There are more than 240 kilometres of walking trails on Stewart Island.
You can explore the beaches and rainforests here, keeping an eye out for wild kiwis in their native habitat, which is also home to New Zealand’s largest and most diverse bird population.