Natural Features and Landscapes

When we talk about landscapes and natural features, this is what we mean


This is the land and what is within it, and how people value it.

Natural features

These are unmodified components of landscapes, such as mountains, rivers, wetlands, hill country, plains, coastlines, rocky outcrops or bluffs/cliffs.

Here's some specific attributes impacting the value of a landscape or natural feature


The geology, water, topographical features (hills, plains, mountains), plants, animals


How memorable is the landscape or feature? How natural (i.e. unmodified) is it?


How do you feel when you see the landscape? What are your spiritual and cultural, connections to that space?

Outstanding natural features and landscapes in Southland

Some outstanding landscapes and natural features have been mapped, for example a large portion of Stewart Island/Rakiura and parts of the Te Anau/Fiordland area. This current work is to check that what we have identified is still significant and to see if there are other areas we need to consider looking after in the same way. 

There are different classifications for natural features and landscapes, which include:

Outstanding natural landscapes

  • Landscapes with exceptional attributes
  • Stand out from the wider landscape
  • Of national importance
  • Example: Fiordland Mountain Range

Outstanding natural features

As per Outstanding Natural Landscapes, but

  • Applies to a discrete geographical area or element within a landscape (i.e. a hill or a river)
  • Often viewed from outside
  • Example: Waiau River Mouth

Visual amenity landscapes

Not categorised as Outstanding, but

  • Important for amenity values and/or
  • The quality of the environment
  • Example: Mid-Dome

The importance of natural features and landscapes

Economically, socially, culturally and environmentally – natural features and landscapes have important values that are not easily replaced. 

Whether in the background of your day-to-day life, or something that makes you feel grateful to live in such an amazing place, landscapes and features play an important role in our community and contribute to our quality of life and sense of place.