Invercargill is New Zealand's southernmost city, and by virtue of its heritage, Scotland's too. The city is the heart of the Southland province, and serves as a stop-over point on the way to Stewart Island and Fiordland.
The first thing to notice about Invercargill is that it has unbelievably huge streets but almost no traffic. This is because 150 years ago, the city planner was anticipating a population boom of over 100,000. Today, there are barely half that number living in the city. The end result is 40 metre-wide streets, so long and empty, that cruise control becomes a viable option.
If you fly into Invercargill1 you will notice how perfectly ordered and well-laid out the street plan is.
The culture is post-Scottish colonial and there are a number of Presbyterian churches and pipe-band competitions. Invercargill is one of the few places in this hemisphere where you can ask for Aberdeen Sausage without getting your face slapped.
Cuisine and Comestibles
Blue cod, bluff oysters and rock lobster are typical foodstuffs.
If you stumble out of the pub at 11pm looking for cod 'n' chips, or a hamburger, then good luck, because there's hardly anything open.
As for the subject of alcohol and pubs, the Invercargill Licensing Trust, started in 1944, was the first of a small number of local licensing trusts throughout the country. It controls the issuing and operation of liquor licenses in the region, and thus generates quite a bit of money which it then injects back into the local economy.
The downside is that it has something of a stranglehold on the liquor business, not to mention any half-decent attempt at 'nightlife'. Only pubs and restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol. Though it is perfectly legal for them to do so in the rest of New Zealand, supermarkets are not allowed to sell alcohol - not wine, not beer, and not even those little chocolate liqueurs.
The city's official website defines the climate as being 'temperate'. Collins Shorter English Dictionary defines 'temperate' as 'having a climate somewhere between tropical and polar'. That pretty much sums up Invercargill weather in both the summer and winter seasons respectively. Take a look at New Zealand on a world map and find its southernmost point. Head south from there, and you will have found the southernmost point of the world - Antarctica. That's winter.
At the other extreme, summers in Invercargill can be a blast, in spite of how cold the winters are, and the city's proximity to penguin country. Temperatures can soar up to 30°C and the sun doesn't go down till well after 9pm.