Bluff Travel Guide

  • Bluff from Stirling Point
    Bluff from Stirling Point
    by DSwede
  • The Bluff Link
    The Bluff Link
    by DSwede
  • Bluff
    by allikat

Bluff Things to Do

  • Learn about history: A look back at the...

    The Bluff Hill Lookout is a great place to learn about the history of Bluff.On information panels with good illustrations you get a great overview of (nearly) everything, be it the geology, the settlement of the region, the way of life, wildlife. The panels are not only to be found around the spiral walkway that leads from the carpark to the...

  • Bluff granite

    The rocky outcrops you see at Bluff Hill are norite. This rock that never reached the surface during the volcanic activity in this region 235 million years ago is also called Bluff granite. Along the spiral track from the carpark to the lookout you find an information panel next to a split rock that reveals a hard, dark-grey stone beneath the...

  • Old Bluff Cemetery

    The Old Bluff Cemetery sits at a spectacular location at the end of Lagan Street. This is the highest street at the western end of Bluff, parallel to Bluff Hill.You have splendid panoramic views to the north, west and south – not so to the east because Bluff Hill blocks your view.The cemetery itself is very interesting, telling the stories from the...

  • Fred and Myrtle Flutey’s grave

    You find Frey and Myrtle Flutey’s grave without consulting the register of the plots. Just walk up the staircase, and at its end it is on the right, one of the neatest and well looked after graves on the Old Bluff Cemetery. On the reddish headstone the letters are still golden, and you will find a photo of those well-loved icons, just the way they...

  • The former Paua House

    I do not know if the new owners of the Paua House have become sick of people photographing their home and congregating on the footpath in front of it. Fact is that they have painted it with this dull purple colour, making the fresh and friendly white and turquoise look that had make Fred and Myrtle Flutey’s home stand out from the crowd disappear.I...

  • Stirling Point - Bluff's southernmost...

    Please do not read the website – and if you do, do not believe everything you read there. ... because Stirling Point is NOT the southernmost point of New Zealand. Slope Point further east is located five kilometres further south. And all this, of course, excludes Stewart Island. We speak of the two main islands of New Zealand.Once this...

  • The new Paua House ;-)))

    This building does not carry this name, only I named it the new Paua House because the paua shells on the wall reminded me of Fred and Myrtle’s living room. Of course, it not even close to the kitschy splendour of what Fred and Myrtle called home. But for someone searching for hints of this iconic couple I found it quite pleasing, demonstrating...

  • Pies of legally killed protected birds

    You would not get muttonbird pies in many places in New Zealand. The reason for it is that only Maori are allowed to hunt them at certain times of the year in Foveaux Street – which is the rocky strait between New Zealand’s South Island and Stewart Island. For all other people this is a protected species.The other name of the muttonbirds is Sooty...

  • Buy a hotel LOL

    No, I do not seriously suggest you buy a hotel. I am posting this because it reflects the general mood in town. There were two old Art Déco hotels for sale when we were in Bluff which really felt a bit like at the end of the world. There were only a few people in the streets on both our visits, with a second-hand book sale in a public building...

  • War Memorial for the men who died in...

    The War Memorial, located on Marine Parade opposite Tiwai Point (the aluminium smelter with the high industrial chimney on the other side of the port), was built of Bluff granite (norite), quarried from a site in McDougall Street.It was sculpted by Danish stonemasons and unveiled on 6 April 1924 by then Prime Minister William Massey. The memorial...

  • Enjoy the views from Bluff Hill and...

    Bluff is dominated by Bluff Hill which can be seen on a fine day from as far away as Fiordland. The land is connected to the mainland by a 300 metre wide isthmus at Ocean Beach.The Maori name is Motupohue which means “Island of Convolvulus” (convolvulus being a sticky weed). Bluff Hill is 265 metres high and is the cone of an extinct volcano which...

  • Is Bluff New Zealand’s oldest...

    Bluff is not only mainland New Zealand’s southernmost town (not: southernmost point, as Slope Point holds this superlative) but also the country’s oldest settlement. This claim, however, is disputed because the missionary settlement in Kerikeri (Northland) dates back further.Bluff bases its claim on the first ship that is known to have entered the...

  • Geological history: Born of heat and...

    Bluff Hill is the worn-down stump of an ancient volcano which erupted 235 million years ago. It was not a single volcano but part of high volcanic activity in the region. The Longwood Range and the northern part of Stewart Island were born at about the same time when much of New Zealand lay beneath the sea on the edge of the ancient supercontinent...

  • Great walks to spend more than a day in...

    I have not met many people who have spent a lot of time in Bluff. But on Stewart Island I met a German lady who said she would stay one week in Bluff just to stay somewhere for a week as she had been hopping from place to place and needed some rest.I did not say anything because I wanted to be polite. And nothing against the friendly people of...

  • The Bluff Link

    There is a monumental chain linking Bluff, or more specifically Stirling Point, to Stewart Island.First, there was the anchor chain attached to the anchor stone on Stewart Island. But what good does a chain do if it is not attached on the other end.A year later, the anchor chain was connected to the prow. Stirling Point and Stewart Island are not...

  • tiwai

    New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited (NZAS) operates an aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point near Bluff. The smelter's first stage, a single reduction line, was commissioned in 1971 following the development of the Manapouri hydro-electric scheme. In 1996 a major upgrade of the smelter was completed, increasing annual capacity to 313,000 tonnes. This...

  • The Paua Shell House is no longer

    I guess this post is to update those who may not be aware and those that read the other tip (posted ~2003) recommending that visitors should stop at the Paua Shell House.Fred and Myrtle Flutey spent nearly their entire lives with a dedication and possibly a mild obsession to collecting the Paua shells (abalone).While it was the largest collection...

  • Stirling Point

    A further 1.5 kms of coastal drive past the end of Bluff's main street will bring you to the Stirling Point Signpost which marks the beginning of State Highway One. The signpost gives the distances to some of the world's most famous cities. The Point is named after Captain William Stirling who established a Whaling Station nearby in 1836. From the...


Bluff Restaurants

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    The Galley: Good local catch and seafoods

    by DSwede Written Aug 15, 2010

    The Galley is a no-frills seafood diner that caters to the locals. It has a couple tables, but also caters for takeaway.

    The walls are covered with Paua shells (abalone) that have been donated from visitors from around the world. Mostly this is to keep the local draw of the paua shells since the "Paua House" is no longer.

    Favorite Dish: There are various types of fish, fritters, fries, etc. Mostly they are fried, but not all of them.

    They have meal sets that include some cole slaw, fries, etc. For example the 1/2 ration of local Bluff oysters with the meal set was about $20.

    However if you eat some fish and chips and a few fritters, you can eat for less than $15.

    Paua shells on the wall of the Galley

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Bluff Transportation

  • The Stewart Island Ferry and connecting...

    The ferries that link mainland New Zealand and Stewart Island are catamarans for passengers only. We booked it well in advance in order to really get there on the day we had booked accommodation for.Catamarans surely are rather stable boats but Foveaux Strait is known to be very rough very often. So if you have a sensitive stomach and are prone to...

  • Stewart Island Ferry Terminal

    You cannot miss this terminal even if you take the first left turn to the port and Maritime Museum – because the Foreshore Road goes straight down to the ferry terminal. Further down the main street (Gore Street) on which you automatically drive when you come from Invercargill there is a sign which leads you straight down to the terminal.There is a...

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Bluff Shopping

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    The Lighthouse Gallery: Creative art of local artists

    by Kakapo2 Written Mar 3, 2012

    The gallery, located on the main street (Gore Street) presents creative works of local artists who mainly focus on the Southland area.

    A nice Art D��co building houses the gallery.
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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Bluff Local Customs

  • Bluff Oysters and Oyster Festival

    I have tried them several times but I am still amazed how many people seem to love oysters. I am sure many people only eat them because they are expensive and considered a delicacy. On the other hand I know that I love quite some foods which make other people cringe. So let’s not discuss if oysters are delicious or not. Let me just tell you that...

  • Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood...

    The Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival is an annual event usually held on Foreshore road in Bluff, showcasing an array of local Southland seafood, fine wine and entertainment. Local restaurants and community groups offer a vast selection of fresh, succulent seafood. Stallholders mainly use locally grown and produced products, allowing...

  • bluff events

    There are a lot of events held in Bluff over the span of a year. The major events being, Southlands biggest fishing contest, the Stabi-Craft Fishing Tournament and Gala Day at Bluff Harbour, held 14-16th March 2003 and The Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival, 26th April 2003.


Bluff Off The Beaten Path

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter

    by Kakapo2 Written Mar 3, 2012

    This industrial plant is so huge that you see it from miles and miles away and everywhere. You easily recognise it from its high chimney. And believe me, it is bigger than you think when you see it from afar, for example from Marine Parade in Bluff or from the Bluff Hill lookout. You already spot it to your left when you drive from Invercargill to Bluff.

    Tiwai Point is located at the entrance to Bluff Harbour. There it extends from the western end of the Awarua Plain.

    Despite boosting New Zealand’s economy as one of the largest industrial plants in the country, the Aluminium Smelter is highly controversial.

    The facility is the largest electricity consumer in New Zealand, and uses approximately one third of the total power of the South Island and 15 per cent of the total power countrywide. To supply the power to the smelter the hydroelectric Manapouri Power Station was built – which again was another hugely controversial project as a lot of land in Fiordland had to be flooded and Lake Manapouri created. Meridian Energy continuously supplies 572 megawatts of electicity for the period 2013 to 2030.

    In 2008, Rio Tinto Aluminium was declared the second worst transnational corporation in New Zealand in the so-called Roger Awards. This was due to its threat to close the smelter if the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme went ahead. The smelter emitted about 600,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases (measured as carbon dioxide equivalents) in 2010. The corporation itself claimed in 2007 that the smelter was amongst the top five per cent of the world's 250 aluminium smelters in terms of low emissions. Everything is relative – because in 2007 for every tonne of aluminium produced 1.97 tonnes of carbon dioxide was released.

    The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is owned by New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited, which is owned by Rio Tinto Aluminium (RTA) (79.36%) and the Sumitomo Chemical Company (20.64%). It opened in 1971. Most of the alumina ore comes from Australia, and most of the aluminium produced from it goes to Japan.

    You find more technical details of the facility on the official Rio Tinto website and on Wikipedia:

    Site tours
    Tours are conducted up to two times per week (weekdays only). Numbers are limited and bookings are essential. Visitors must be aged 12 and over. Please phone 218-5889 for bookings.

    The aluminium smelter across the entry channel. It is further away than it looks.

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Bluff Favorites

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  • Bluff Hill Environmental Trust

    This is a group which does a great job preserving Bluff Hill’s flora and fauna. Thanks to the location of Bluff (Hill) behind a narrow isthmus it is easier than in other places to trap predators like possums, rats, mustelids, mice, feral cats and hedgehogs.According to their website they work hard to make native...

  • The luggage maniac

    I just have to post this photo ;-)As you might have read in my tip about the Stewart Island ferry, every passenger is allowed two pieces of luggage – which usually is a big suitcase or backback and some kind of hand luggage.Every passenger places his check-in luggage into metal containers that hold about ten pieces of luggage. You just have to...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

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