Tides Getting Here Clutha Attractions

Southern Scenic Route

Take the scenic route around the deep south of New Zealand, and experience the various terrain and scenery that we have to offer.

The varied landscapes and wildlife mixed with rich history, culture and plenty of adventure along the way!

This journey between Queenstown and Dunedin which ventures through Balclutha and The Catlins has been voted one of the best self drive routes in The World! 

Click here for more information

Lower South NZ

Learn to plan your perfect trip down south. Whether you're looking for tours and experiences, suggested itineraries for both couples and families, or travel offers to access the Lower South, their website has it all. 

Set your coordinates for discovery - visit


It is easy to get to the Clutha District, with two international airports close by. Dunedin Airport is on our doorstep with regular direct flights to Auckland and Brisbane, Australia.

Queenstown Airport is only a couple of hours drive away with great connections to Auckland, Wellington, Chistchurch and a number of Australian cities.

Car Rentals

You can rent cars and vans (not camper) in Balclutha at Balclutha Mitsubishi 


Balclutha has a bus stop on Intercity bus services which run from Dunedin to Invercargill, and Te Anau to Christchurch. Visit their website for more information

Milton is on both the above Intercity bus routes as well as the route between Dunedin and Queenstown.

The Bottom Bus & Catlins Coaster: this tourist service links you to the Clutha District, through to The Catlins going along the Southern Scenic Route between Dunedin and Invercargill.


Louie’s Cabs cover Balclutha, Milton and surrounding areas – 03 418 0480

Cellular Coverage

The Clutha District is all about getting off the beaten track for that unique and unspoilt experience.

You may not get cell phone or internet coverage in some parts of The Catlins and Lawrence.

Don’t see it as a disadvantage, you can be truly off the grid!

Respect Our Wildlife

We are lucky to have amazing wildlife in Clutha, particularly in The Catlins, be sure to respect their space.

We recommend that you don't approach, disturb or tease these animals, remember that this is their home.

  • Penguins are naturally shy and easily stressed – please stay out of sight
  • Sea Lions and seals need space - stay at least 20 metres away
  • Do not take plants, animals or fossils – please protect nature
  • Control dogs as they can be a major threat to both penguins and seals

Clutha Camping

Where can you camp in the Clutha District?
There are some great places to stay in Clutha and we welcome responsible campers who are prepared to look after our unique natural environment and follow some simple rules. Camping is permitted in any designated camping ground for all types of camping in tents, campervans, sleeper vans and vehicles. If your campervan is fully self-contained (i.e. has a toilet, wastewater and rubbish facilities on-board) then you can camp overnight for free on most land administered by Council away from the town centres and residential areas. Some public land is excluded however. Please observe all 'no camping' signs. If you do not have a fully self-contained campervan, please stay at a camping ground.

The Catlins is a popular and frequently visited area of the Clutha District. Its unique, fragile coastlines and ecosystem are home to endangered wildlife and bird species. Please camp in permitted areas only. There are three Department of Conservation (DOC) camping grounds Tawanui, Purakaunui Bay, and Papatowai, all of which are located in The Catlins, which are only a small cost per night. They are all standard campsites with a limited range of facilities and services, including toilets, water supply and vehicle access.

Freedom Camping

These guidelines are designed to assist with the protection of our natural environment, and the sustainability of tourism activity for years to come. Further general information about freedom camping is available at

If you are freedom camping, we ask that you please:

  • Stay away from the town centres, residential areas and 'no camping' areas.
  • Stay a maximum of three nights in any four-week period at any one location.
  • Dispose of your wastewater at one of the waste disposal dump stations.
  • Put your rubbish in bins provided within the town centres or at the Council transfer stations.
  • Do not light any fires.
  • Leave the area as you found it, free of litter and damage.
  • Comply with any request to move on by an Authorised Officer.
  • Please note that breaching any of these rules can result in an instant fine or prosecution. Instant fines start from $500.


If you love to fish then there are plenty of options in Clutha, Otago and Southland. Not to boast but we do have some of the best fly fishing in New Zealand.

To find out more go to:

Surfs Up!

Clutha has some of the country’s best kept surfing secrets. Top spots include Toko Mouth, Kaka Point, Cannibal Bay and the famous Purakaunui Bay, which has some of New Zealand’s biggest waves! 

Tuapeka Punt

Our fantastic free ferry runs daily between 8 and 10 in the morning and 4 and 6 in the afternoon if conditions allow - check out their Facebook Page for up to date information.

The Southern Hemisphere’s oldest public punt can take campervans weighing up to 2.7 tonnes but it always depends on river levels as the ferry does literally go with the flow!

You will find the ferry between Balclutha and Lawrence.

Rubbish & Recycling

Please look after our lovely environment and put your rubbish in the bin. You will find rubbish bins in every town in the Clutha District.

Ask our friendly information centres about where you can get rid of recyclables for free.

They can also tell you where you can dispose of other rubbish and what it will cost.