friendship force

New Zealand

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  • Official club name: The Friendship Force of Southland
  • Closest international airport: Dunedin or Queenstown (both over 2 hours away). However, ambassadors usually fly into Christchurch International Airport to get a connecting flight to Invercargill or sometimes arrange a three or four-day bus trip en route to Invercargill.
  • Closest regional airport: Invercargill Airport
  • The cost of transportation from the local airport to Invercargill is $15-20 by taxi, ambassadors are usually met by hosts.
  • Maximum number of Ambassadors our club can host: 16

About the club

Formed in mid-2008 with nine members, now numbering 20, of whom about half live around Invercargill and half in the rural north (Winton) and west (Riverton) areas. About half our members are couples, the rest single, and several of them are still working. We have a variety of interests and are a very friendly, social group. Invercargill's population is around 50,000. Since 2008 we have hosted several journeys from USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, and internal New Zealand.

At present we are only able to host a maximum of 16 people, with mostly queen beds and some twin. Some homes have stairs and steps, many have pets.

While we have not arranged a journey from our club, several members have joined other journeys from other clubs in New Zealand to various other countries.

About the region

The Southland region has some unique scenery including beaches on the south coast, typical native bush with waterfalls and a petrified forest on the Catlins Southern Scenic route, wonderful views along the coast in several directions including Stewart Island, (there is the possibility of traveling to Stewart Island).  Invercargill is the gateway to Fiordland via Te Anau; and visitors frequently continue their visit by bus in that direction, for boat trips in Doubtful or Milford Sounds, to Queenstown or up the West Coast.  Southland is a mixed sheep and dairy farming region with lush pastures and good roads. The climate is moderate.

About our Programme

Invercargill Airport is just a few minutes from the city and a taxi would cost $15-$20, although hosts usually meet visitors at the airport. Dunedin and Queenstown International Airports are both about two hours away. Visitors usually fly into Christchurch and get a connecting flight to Invercargill, and sometimes come down by bus over several days.

A typical journey is for seven days and some attractions are:

  • a visit to our local Museum for hands-on viewing with Tuatara curator, Lindsay Hazley
  • visit to world-renowned Richardsons Truck Museum
  • visit to E Hayes & Sons historic tools and modern family hardware store
  • day trip to scenic Catlins area including waterfall(s), meal overlooking penguin colony at Curio Bay and viewing fossilised trees
  • day trip to Riverton and Tuatapere, with time at historic museum, art gallery and coastal bays to Orepuki, views from Moores Reserve with bush walk
  • visit to Bluff Hill and point to southernmost signpost on NZ walking tracks and highway; lookout to Stewart Island
  • pot-luck barbeque at members' homes
  • visit to local bird sanctuary where mainly Kereru and Tui are rehabilitated and released
  • visit to Queen's Park, renowned rose garden and park
  • visit to best cycling velodrome in southern hemisphere
  • visit to unique 'Beachcomber's Cottage' with whimsical garden ornaments from the coastline
  • visit to Gore historic whisky museum
  • visit to Mandeville airfield and historic air museum
  • tour of historic Civic Theatre and view other historic buildings around city
  • a light welcome meal, either lunch or tea, final dinner, transport and lunch for both day trips and dinner for Catlins trip are included. The cost of recent journeys is NZ$240 which covers several of the above activities.

Updated 9 February 2018


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