The Catlins

Owaka

Visit Owaka Museum in The Catlins
Venture Southland
Owaka Museum, The Catlins

The largest town in the Catlins area, Owaka, the "Place of the Canoe", was established by timber-milling pioneers in the late 1800s. The town was originally called Catlins River, then Quakerfield, and it was also originally a few kilometres closer to the sea. It was moved to its present site to be near the railway, which closed in 1971.

Owaka provides a variety of services including various accommodation providers, cafes, bars, craft shops, and the remarkable Owaka Museum; a charming display of historical artefacts and short movies that put the region's unique stories, such as shipwrecks and moa hunting, into perspective.

Nearby attractions include the majestic Purakaunui Falls, the fur seal colony at Nugget Point, the sea lions of Surat and Cannibal Bays, and Jack’s Bay and Blowhole. The popular family holiday location of Pounawea is only 4 kilometres away. Located on the Southern Scenic Route, Owaka is the perfect base for exploring the northern part of The Catlins; the swathes of native bush and unspoiled beaches that surround it are hard to beat.