The Catlins

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

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 so many scenic, wildlife and recreational opportunities 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 also teeming with interesting 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 must-sees 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 cafes in these townships try the local delicacy, whitebait fritters.

Unique Wildlife

The Catlins offer some of the best opportunities to view and photograph New Zealand fur seals/kekeno, Southern elephant seals/ihupuku, New Zealand sea lions/whakahao, and Yellow eyed penguins/hoiho, as they nestle amongst rock formations and on golden beaches. 

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

 

 

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

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What's On
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Wildlife
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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.

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Southland is abundant with wildlife
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The Outdoors
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Sandy beaches, abundant forests, mountainous plains and leisurely rivers give travellers a new adventure to pursue around every corner.

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Northern Southland has many mountain bike trails
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Displaying 1 - 21 of 28
At Chaslands Farm Cottages our comfortable, clean, affordable self contained Cottages are waiting for you along with a warm welcome from Tony and Dianne.…
Welcome, to the Catlins Beach House, in the heart of The Catlins and part of the iconic Southern Scenic Route. We offer boutique style backpackers and whole-…
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…
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…
Our home offers warm, comfortable and elegant accommodation.  You are welcomed with a complimentary coffee tray and Helen-May prepares and cooks a three course…
Comfortable self-catering accommodation on coastal farm near Waipapa Point and Fortrose. We offer The Garden House,  self-contained accommodation on South…
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…
The home of tasty food, great company and affordable luxury accommodation in the heart of The Catlins at Owaka. Owaka - its name means "Place of the Canoe" and…
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,…
At Fortrose Retreat a warm welcome awaits you at this fully self -contained boutique cottage on the Southern Scenic Route, your base to explore the magnificent…
Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park - an authentic 100% NZ Pure, eco-tourism experience. Award  winning seaside accommodation/camping Holiday Park in The Catlins at…
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. Breadalbane…
Located on beautifully groomed grounds beside the Catlins River, the RiverRidge Retreat resonates peace and tranquillity – no distractions from busy city life…
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. This…
Waikava Harbour View accommodation is a spacious four-bedroom lodge with two additional cottages, providing high quality accommodation for visitors to the…
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…
Catlins Farmstay B&B is a great location for visiting the many scenic attractions of the beautiful natural Catlins area of Southland. We are situated 10…
With a unit to meet your every need, we are a 2-minute walk to the bathing and surfing beach, shop, café/bar, takeaway shop, and a 30-minute bush walk.…
Tiromoana is fully self-contained, superior accommodation, just five minutes South of Owaka and within close proximity to the magnificent attractions offered…
Welcome to Catlins Retreat accommodation in Owaka, your home away from home in the heart of the Catlins. This lovely character accommodation has wonderful…
Displaying 1 - 21 of 35
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. You…
The start of this 40 minute return walk is at the north end of the Tahakopa River bridge on the Southern Scenic Route. Horse and coach teams once forded the…
Here is one of the best ways to see the bottom of New Zealand….on the deep south Bottom Bus! We have been guiding intrepid travelers around the bottom of New…
A first and only for New Zealand If  you’re  looking  for  a  fun  and  unique  experience  for  the  whole family,  Earthlore  offers  a  huge variety  of  …
A love of the outdoors and a passion to give back to the Rangatahi was the drive behind creating Rangatahi Tumeke. The outdoor program was created in 2013 to…
Our adventure Rides/Treks are designed with everyone in mind. Our horses can be ridden and are not taught to follow one another so experienced riders can go…
Visit the Fibre Producers! Janette is a spinner and weaver, specialising in exotic fibres from her herd of Llamas and flock of Gotland Pelt sheep. Meet Janette…
On the road between the Nugget Point turn-off and Owaka you will find one of the last remains of the old Catlins River railway which, when completed, ran from…
15 min return Signposted from the Waipapa Point Lighthouse Road, the walk is across private property (closed during the lambing season September/October). The…
Stay, Eat and Escape to the Catlins Situated at the southern entrance to the Catlins, Curio Bay is a truly special place. Best known for its rare 180 million…
The Pūrākaunui Falls is one of Otago’s iconic, most-photographed sights. The track through mature beech forest, and then beech and podocarp, is suitable for…
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…
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…
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…
Just south of the Tautuku Outdoor Education Centre on the Southern Scenic Route a short walk takes you to a boardwalk over part of the lake. When the rata is…
The Catlins River-Wisp Loop Track includes two 12 kilometre routes, the Catlins River Walk and Wisp Loop Walk. The routes can be walked in either direction and…
The Waipohatu Recreation Area gives wheelchair access to an excellent example of the southern rainforest, with an impressive range of species especially ferns…
This walk is suitable for all age groups and provides plenty of variety. It is a 20 minute walk each way with a possible extension of another 20 minutes each…
Niagara Falls was named by a surveyor with an obvious sense of humour! A special site called a nohoanga is situated on part of the Waikawa River nearby,…
The track is partly board-walked and also incorporates a section of the Old Coach Road. It starts in podocarp forest then leads out to the estuary flats. The…
The World's Most Exciting Fly Fishing Trips! Prepare yourself for the thrill and excitement of the ultimate Fly Fishing experience with New Zealand Guided Fly…