The Catlins

The Catlins' beauty and seclusion is magnetic. It holds an untouched quality that separates it from the rest.

The Catlins offers a glimpse of rural New Zealand set amid native forests, fringed by high cliffs and golden beaches. Here, you’ll find a world of waterfalls, including the tiered Purakaunui Falls, one of the most photographed in the world. The area’s many walking tracks provide access to some special scenic, historic and culturally significant sites. This spectacular coastal stretch is home to an array of marine life – sea lions are regular beach visitors, while dolphins frolic in the shallows. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare but distinctive Hoiho, the Yellow-eyed Penguin.

Camping in The Catlins

Curio Bay

Few places offer such scenic, wildlife and recreational values in one small area. This idyllic bay is home to a 180 million year old petrified forest, dolphins and Yellow-eyed penguins. Just down the road is Waikawa, a small fishing settlement teeming with wildlife.

Hoiho/Yellow-eyed Penguin

Cascading Falls

The Catlins is home to some of the most photographed water falls in New Zealand. McLean Falls, Purakaunui Falls and the Matai Falls are a must see on your visit to The Catlins.

Old School Townships

Explore the history of The Catlins community by visiting Tokanui, Waikawa & Owaka. Here you will learn about the whaling, saw milling & gold mining history, which dates back to the regions settlement in the 1860’s. At the cafes try the local delicacy, whitebait fritters.

Unique Wildlife

Nestled amongst golden beaches and lighthouses are New Zealand fur seals/kekeno, Southern elephant seals/ihupuku, New Zealand sea lions/whakahao, and Yellow eyed penguins/hoiho. 

Geological Forms

The Catlins has a wealth of unique landforms. Follow the Southern Scenic Route and check out the numerous attractions including Nugget Point, Jacks Blowhole, Lake Wilkie, Cathedral Caves, Slope Point and the lighthouse at Waipapa Point.

The Catlins heritage trail which feature 13 heritage sites, is a great way to explore the scenic beauty and the rich history of The Catlins.




What's on

Check out our Southland events calendar and find out what is coming up so you can plan your trip south.

What's On


Southland gives visitors an unrivalled opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide range of wildlife and experience New Zealand at its natural best.

Southland is abundant with wildlife

The Outdoors

Sandy beaches, abundant forests, mountainous plains and leisurely rivers give travellers a new adventure to pursue around every corner.

Northern Southland has many mountain bike trails
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Welcome, to the Catlins Beach House, in the heart of The Catlins and part of the iconic Southern Scenic Route.

At Chaslands Farm Cottages our comfortable, clean, affordable self contained Cottages are waiting for you along with a warm welcome from

Comfortable self-catering accommodation on coastal farm near Waipapa Point and Fortrose The Garden House Self-contained accommodation on South Island’s most southerly coast The House This was the ‘new’ teacher’s house

Carolynne and Ken invite you to stay at Breadalbane House in Kaka Point, near the start of the famous Southern Scenic Route and the Catlins region.

Catlins Accommodation .Experience the best of the Catlins at your own pace and in one of our comfortable, safe and eco-friendly cottages, fully equipped with all you need.

A homely, self contained 3 bedroom cottage situated in Waikawa village with lovely estuary and rural views. Sleeps 8. Cosy wood fire, all linen provided, sunroom, gas water heating.

Our Catlins accommodation is varied and provides you with a wide range of Catlins accommodation options.

Plan two nights you’ll need them…

Affordable well equipped holiday home situated in Pounawea, the heart of the Catlins. The house is set on a flat 1/4 acre fully fenced section with two driveways and plenty of off street parking.

Waipapa Point Cottage offers you all the warm comforts of life on a picturesque coastal sheep and cattle farm with the beautiful Catlins as your backdrop.

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The World's Most Exciting Fly Fishing Trips!

The start of this walk is at the rear of the Pounawea Motor Camp. Please park your car outside the gate. The nature walk is 15 minutes for the round trip.

The Waipohatu Recreation Area gives wheelchair access to an excellent example of the southern rainforest, with an impressive range of species especially ferns. It is registered as a Kiwi Walk.

Take the turn off at Rewcastle Road and travel 3km to the car park where this 40 minute return walk begins. This is a forest walk to what some say is the most striking of the Catlins’ waterfalls.

The start of this 40 minute return walk is at the north end of the Tahakopa River bridge on the Southern Scenic Route.

The Museum is housed in a disused and upgraded school building. The Museum tells the historical story of the area from the early Whalers, gold mining, fishing, sawmilling, stone quarrying to present day farming.

Here is one of the best ways to see the bottom of New Zealand….on the deep south Bottom Bus!

This walk takes you along the beach atCannibal Bay to False Islet where you can climb to the top of the cliffs for the spectacular view, then drop down to Surat Bay.

Situated in the South Catlins area of Southland, Te ?kau Tai Tonga, this trail provides a rewarding detour off the Southern Scenic Route.

Catlins Scenic & Wildlife Tours run in partnership with Mohua Park Eco Accommodation, in the heart to The Catlins.   We offer 4 separate guided tours covering a most of the Catlins area.