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24 hours in: The Catlins New Zealand
Looking to go off the beaten track these holidays? We showcase the best of The Catlins, New Zealand.
Go off-the-beaten-track to The Catlins, New Zealand for a wild and rugged Kiwi experience.
Located in the bottom left-hand corner of the South Island, The Catlins is often sidestepped by travellers seeking the more well-known areas of Dunedin and Te Anau. But this remote and beautiful stretch of coastline is home to an abundance of marine life such as sea lions, penguins, seals and dolphins. And it also boasts significant geological landmarks, like the Curio Bay Petrified Forest. The area is more than just a nature reserve, though, it's known for its wild coastline where surfers come to ride the waves.
The Catlins is also known as a region of spectacular waterfalls.
- Visit the magnificent Purakaunui Falls – a three-tiered, 20-metre body of water only a short walk through mature beech and podocarp forest.
- And be sure to do the Catlins Riverwalk, a well-formed track through native silver beech forest following the Catlins River. You’ll pass rushing rapids and see rare native birds, such as the yellowhead and rifleman.
- Visit Curio Bay to see its petrified forest and wildlife attractions. Over 160 million years old the fossils can be seen at low tide and are a truly spectacular phenomenon.
- See Nugget Point, home to New Zealand’s oldest lighthouse. A 30 minute walk from the car park along the cliffs you'll find the lighthouse and viewing platform overlooking dramatic rocky outcrops and the Pacific Ocean. If you're lucky, you’ll spot seals and yellow-eyed penguins in the area.
- Make time to see the Cathedral Caves, 30 metre high natural structures accessible only at low tide via a path leading through Podocarp forest. These great caverns are truly spectacular, and a must see while you are down this way.
It’s outstanding natural beauty and abundance of native wildlife make this a truly spectacular place to visit. You’ll experience the best of New Zealand's flora and fauna and have the chance to see landmarks of both historical and geological significance.
When arriving and leaving the Catlins, follow The Southern Scenic Route (which links Dunedin, Invercargill and Te Anau) to see deserted beaches windswept trees, beautiful bays and native wildlife.
Spend at least two full days here to make sure you see the best of what this region has to offer.
Bring layers – The Catlins is famous for wild and windy weather – but that's all part of the charm.