Porpoise Bay - Southland, New Zealand
Gayle Hogue

The Catlins Family Experiences

The Catlins, a magnificent coastline region, attracts visitors with its rough beauty and unspoiled quality. A world of native forests, deserted sandy beaches, glittering bays, gushing waterfalls and secret lakes awaits you here. The Catlins is the perfect family experience to take a break from the busy school term and get back in touch with nature.

Curio Bay/Tumu Toka & Porpoise Bay

The main drawcard of Curio Bay (Tumu Toka) is watching the outgoing tide reveal a 180-million-year-old Jurassic fossil forest, one of only three such accessible fossil forests in the world. Millions of years ago the Curio Bay area…

Curio Bay is a perfect spot to see local birds, seals, dolphins, and penguins. Build enchanted sandcastles in the golden sand or get your boogie board out and play in the waves. Head up the beach to Curioscape to grab an ice cream and check out Curioscape’s Gateway Experience with interactive touch screens, immersive displays and a theatre that is a must-see.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience for the whole family, Earthlore offers a variety of activities for all ages. A bug city, a circus insect puppet show, bug frisbee golf, a food forest, a gypsy caravan full of dress-up costumes for photo fun, and beautiful gardens full of insects, native birds, and short walks can be found here.

Explore the spectacular Cathedral Caves on a walk through the rainforest and along the shore or watch the outgoing tide reveal a 180 million year old Jurassic fossil forest – one of only three such accessible fossil forests in the world, a must-see for tourists to The Catlins.

Come and meet the menagerie of exotic animals at Thickthorne Llamas and flock of Gotland Pelt Sheep. Full of personality, incredibly cute, and very, very photogenic, kids will love spending time at Thickthorne Llamas and learning more about the fibre-crafting process which transforms raw fleece to quality knitting yarn.

The Lignite Pit & Secret Garden Café is around 16 hectares with around 3 hectares of lake, including several tiny islands. There is a lake and several trails great for kids to explore and a lake that leads you past the two waterfalls. There are locations for sitting and enjoying the views and you will probably find that there are several local friendly ducks trailing after you.  

Other Family Experiences