Transformational Bluff Tourism Master Plan Open For Consultation
Famous for its oysters and Stirling Point signpost, a new 20-year plan could transform the Southland town of Bluff to have greater appeal to visitors.
Facilitated by Great South, the draft Bluff Motupōhue 2020 Tourism Master Plan is a joint initiative between Great South, Invercargill City Council and Te Runaka o Awarua.
Great South chairman Ian Collier said Bluff was strategically important as a tourist destination with significant potential.
“The ultimate is to transform Bluff into a more attractive place to live, work, play, visit and invest in.
“We want to see Bluff considered the starting point for New Zealand, not the end,” Mr Collier said.
A coordinated plan for Bluff had been identified as being crucial within the Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy and aligns with the New Zealand Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy.
Mr Collier said Bluff was a popular visitor destination for its oyster fame, for the highly-photographed Stirling Point signpost, and as the start and end of the Te Araroa trail. It was also a gateway to Rakiura Stewart Island which was seeing unprecedented visitor numbers and interest.
“But at the moment length of stay in Bluff is short.”
Part of the plan would be to make sure there was more on offer for visitors to do to promote a longer stay. It was also about making Bluff a vibrant hub for residents.
The Plan provided an overall framework and would allow various projects and precincts to progress at their own pace, he said.
Awarua Runaka kaiwhakahaere and Bluff resident Dean Whaanga said he was excited the plan had reached this stage.
“This is very exciting for the local community. The plan will play a crucial role in informing a coordinated approach to Bluff’s future.”
Mr Whaanga was pleased that Kaupapa Maori was taking centre stage in the Plan - a significant pouwhenua atop Motupōhue Bluff Hill is among the proposals.
Other projects include enhancing the mountain biking and walking tracks in the area and building upon the Predator Free Bluff project. New developments such as the Ocean Beach aquaculture precinct, Invercargill to Bluff cycle way and the visitor welcome bay are already underway.
Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt hoped the community would take the opportunity to share their views on the draft plan.
“Bluff is a special place. Council has been pleased to work with Iwi and Great South to explore the opportunities to encourage more visitors to come and enjoy what’s on offer.”
Consultation will be open until 29 January 2021. The draft plan is available online at www.greatsouth.nz and hard copies can be picked up at Great South, 143 Spey Street, Invercargill or the Awarua Runaka office, 12 Bradshaw Street, Bluff.