New zealand’s southermost region combines wild scenery, a relaxed lifestyle, and the country’s most affordable housing.
Southland’s capital and only city, Invercargill, boasts a charming architecture (50,000 inhabitants) and unique Scottish heritage. Wages are on the high national average and houses are relatively cheap, making this overall sparsely populated region a judicious choice for young families.
A difficult but rewarding region for early settlers
The rough terrain and weather conditions made it difficult for Māori to establish, and very few villages existed when the first Europeans visited the region. Ironically, the latter started roaming about the coastline as early as the late 18th century, due to the abundance of seals and whales. The mid-1850s marked the creation of the first settlements, now known as Invercargill and Bluff. Gold mining further north added to these towns’ prosperity. Sheep and dairy farming then developed and are still nowadays a major industry and source of income for the region. Because the vast majority of European settlers were from Scotland and most of their descendants still populate the region, the heritage lives on in the form of locals softly rolling their ‘r’s.