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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Luxury Camping in the beautiful South Island, NZ Tussock Country is a mobile glamping service. Experience the outdoors in luxury and style. Glamping (glamorous…
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…
South Catlins Motel is located on the Southern Scenic Route and is a great base to explore the Catlins from. The Catlins is a vibrant place with birds active…
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…
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…
Welcome to Catlins Retreat accommodation in Owaka, your home away from home in the heart of the Catlins. This lovely character accommodation has wonderful…
Recently renovated the Rosebank Lodge offers superb facilities and true southern hospitality. The lodge is located on the Southern Scenic Route and is…
Hilltop Accommodation is nestled alongside native forest on a sheep and beef farm, overlooking the tiny seaside community of Papatowai, in the heart of 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…
“The Whistling Frog Resort” (also known as the "McLean Falls Holiday Park" and "Catlins Kiwi Holiday Park") was established in 2006, after the Southern Scenic…
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…
Our Catlins accommodation is varied and provides you with a wide range of Catlins accommodation options. Plan two nights you’ll need them… You’ll stay in  …
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…
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…
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-…
Waikava Harbour View accommodation is a spacious four-bedroom lodge with two additional cottages, providing high quality accommodation for visitors to the…
Comfortable self-catering accommodation on coastal farm near Waipapa Point and Fortrose. We offer The Garden House,  self-contained accommodation on South…
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…
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…
Displaying 1 - 21 of 35
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’…
The Waipohatu Recreation Area gives wheelchair access to an excellent example of the southern rainforest, with an impressive range of species especially ferns…
Curio Bay is located on the Catlins coast just 7kms from Waikawa. The area has a long history of Maori occupation and, as with the rest of the Catlins, was an…
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…
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…
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…
Catlins Scenic & Wildlife Tours run in partnership with Mohua Park Eco Accommodation, in the heart to The Catlins.   We offer 4 separate guided tours…
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. This is a 47 hectare…
Situated in the South Catlins area of Southland, this trail provides a rewarding detour off the Southern Scenic Route. Covering approximately 70kms of road,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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. This is a 47 hectare…
30 min return: This partly boardwalked track heads through podocarp forest to estuary flats, home to a population of fernbirds/mata who are often heard but…
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…
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 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…
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…