As deceptive as it may seem, Slope Point on the Catlins Coast in Southland is the southern-most point in New Zealand – not Bluff, or even Stewart Island as most people think.
The big tourist attraction at Bluff is a signpost with signs pointing to major cities at all points of the compass for people to photograph themselves by. To get there is easy, just follow State Highway south until you reach the end!
To get to Slope Point requires more effort. One must take a detour onto secondary roads to the east of the main road through the Catlins, followed by a walk through farmland beside the clifftop tussock grass to reach the coastal navigation beacon and sign at the end. There you are informed that the distance to the equator is 5,140 km and to the South Pole is 4,803 km.
It doesn’t look much like a point; no sharp promontory, more a bump in the coastline. Sheep graze right up to the clifftop. It’s a pretty wild and rugged place though. Cold winds whistle in from Antarctica which cause the tussock to roll like waves. A reef protrudes into the sea at the base of the cliffs and shows itself through the surf. Just as well for woolly hats and windproof jackets.