The Catlins

The Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Situated off the beaten track, The Catlins encompasses the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose, spanning both Clutha and Southland Districts. The Catlins is an area of great contrasts and natural beauty with an abundance of wildlife. From magnificent coastal cliffs and headlands, long sweeping beaches, coves and sandy bays; to extensive temperate rainforests, waterfalls and rolling farmland, The Catlins is a fascinating, rugged place. The climate is temperate with a generous annual rainfall which nurtures the predominantly green landscape.

Wildlife and native plants and trees are a feature of the Catlins. Varieties of sea birds are prolific and you may see the forest-dwelling birds tui, bellbird, fantail, native pigeon and the rare mohua. You may also be fortunate enough to observe yellow-eyed penguins from the viewing hides provided. The Catlins is also home to the New Zealand sea lion, fur seal and the Hector’s dolphin.

The forests contain many native tree species especially tree ferns, rata, kahikatea, miro, kamahi, and silver beech.

The remarkable Catlins is renowned for its ever-changing panoramic views of moody skies, wind-shorn trees, rugged shores, forests and pastureland.

Be sure to bring your camera when you explore the Catlins!

The largest township is Owaka with a population of almost 400 people.  Other settlements in The Catlins are Kaka Point, Pounawea, Tahakopa, Papatowai, Tokanui, Waikawa and Fortrose. In an area known for its remoteness and low population, The Catlins is really something special, allow plenty of time to explore!

If you want more info on where to go and what to do then visit this community run website

Tatu te Whenua – Please leave the land undisturbed


Towns and places of The Catlins

•             Kaka Point

•             Owaka & Pounawea

•             Papatowai & Chaslands

•             Waikawa & Curio Bay


Mohua Bird