Tides Getting Here Clutha Attractions

Southern Scenic Route

This truly sums up the delightful diversity of the deep south!

Sensational scenery, rugged splendour, wonderful wildlife while oozing oodles of history, culture and amazing adventures. It is quite simply a stupendous showcase of New Zealand’s best bits!

This journey between Queenstown and Dunedin going through Clutha and the Catlins has been voted one of the best self drive routes in the World!


It’s easy to get here, Clutha has two international airports close by, Dunedin Airport is literally on our doorstep with regular direct flights to Auckland and Brisbane across the ditch.

While 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 


Balclutha is a stop on intercity services from Dunedin to Invercargill and Te Anau to Christchurch just got to

Milton is on both the above intercity services but also has a route to Queenstown which going the other way offers another service to Dunedin.

The Bottom Bus & Catlins Coaster: this tourist service links Clutha and the Catlins going along the Southern Scenic Route between Dunedin and Invercargill (it doesn’t stop at all the top spots).


Louie’s Cabs covering Balclutha, Milton and surrounding area – 03 418 0480

Cellular Coverage

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

You won’t get cell phone or internet coverage in some parts of the Catlins and also around Lawrence.

Don’t see it as a disadvantage it just allows you to really get away from it all for a while!

Respect Our Wildlife

We are lucky to have amazing wildlife in Clutha and the  Catlins but please respect their space!

Do not approach, disturb or harass these wild animals after all this is their home!

  • Penguins are naturally shy and easily stressed – please stay out of sight
  • Sea Lions and Seals need space so 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 Clutha?
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 (with a toilet, wastewater and rubbish facilities on-board) then you may 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 then please stay at a camping ground.

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

Freedom Camping

Why we need rules around freedom camping. These rules are designed to assist with the protection of our natural environment and the sustainability of this tourism activity for years to come. Further general information about freedom camping is available on

If freedom camping, we ask that you please:

  • Stay away from the town centres, residential areas and prohibited camping areas.
  • Stay a maximum of three nights in any four-week period at any one single 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've got the best fly fishing in New Zealand and therefore pretty much the whole World!

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 boasts 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.

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 them in every town in Clutha.

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.