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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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.

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.

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.

Luxury Camping in the beautiful South Island, NZ

Tussock Country is a mobile glamping service. Experience the outdoors in luxury and style.

Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park - an authentic 100% NZ Pure, eco-tourism experience.

Recently renovated the Rosebank Lodge offers superb facilities and true southern hospitality.

Slope Point backpackers is the first backpacker accommodation available on the way from Invercargill as you explore the Catlins - a great place to start or finish your Catlins experience.

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.

Southern Secret Motel offers affordable units in the heart of the scenic Catlins area, an ideal base for exploring Kaka Point, Nugget Point, Porpoise Bay, the Petrified Forest of Curio Bay and of course in and around

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15 min return Signposted from the Waipapa Point Lighthouse Road, the walk is across private property (closed during the lambing season September/October).

Come  relax  and  enjoy  our  exciting  new state-of-the-art  musuem  in  Owaka,  The Catlins - New Zealand   On  site  are  a  community  gallery,  short movies,     information     centre,     library, research and

Rich in early Catlins timber milling history, there is a 5 minute walk to Cook’s old mill site and an interpretive display of an old restored Traill bush tractor. Walk starts from Fleming River Bridge.

This Department of Conservation Wildlife Reserve at Nugget Point has dramatic views of “The Nuggets.” These wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be seen from the viewing platform at t

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.

40 min return: By using the foot access through a neighbouring farm and following a short loop walk, an outstanding example of lowland totara forest can be explored.

Jack’s Blowhole is in Tunnel Rocks Scenic Reserve and is a large hole 55 metres deep, 200 metres from the sea. This one hour return walk is accessed from Jack’s Bay.

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.

The Catlins River-Wisp Loop Track includes two 12 kilometre routes, the Catlins River Walk and Wisp Loop Walk.

There is a 20 minute return walking path to the Roaring Bay viewing hide, as well as a 10-20 minute return walk to the Lighthouse.