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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check out our Southland events calendar and find out what is coming up so you can plan your trip south.View
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.View
Sandy beaches, abundant forests, mountainous plains and leisurely rivers give travellers a new adventure to pursue around every corner.View