On the southern coast of our district is The Catlins, where you can meet hoiho, the world’s rarest yellow-eyed penguin, and kororā, the world's smallest penguin. Visitors can view these amazing animals from many vantage points, enjoying their natural habitat. Plus you may get to see the planet's most endangered sea lions, fur seals, and the world’s smallest dolphin. Many of our district’s wildlife are facing rapid decline, so please respect their natural habitat, do not approach them, and keep dogs on a lead.
Thought to be The World’s rarest and The World’s most ancient penguins with just a few thousand in total, it is a special treat to spot these endangered penguins.
A reserve to protect 10% of mainland population was set up in 2007 at Long Point near Owaka in the Catlins. Roaring Bay Hide next to Nugget Point is another place you can spot the Yellow Eyed Penguins.
The Yellow Eyed Penguin known as a 'Hoiho' in Maori is so iconic that it features on the New Zealand $5 dollar note.
The world’s smallest penguins are found all along the Catlins coast nesting in caves and burrows. They fish close to shore and come in after dark and go out before dawn so can be tricky to see.
New Zealand sea lions are the most endangered and threatened in The World.
These large earless seals take their name from the male or bull’s nose which looks like an elephant’s trunk. It is used to make load roaring noises especially during the mating season, and is also used for saving water.
Exceptional males can be up to 6 metres in length and weigh up to 4,000 kg! Our Southern species are bigger than those in the North.
Ancient Podocarps rule the Catlins Conservation Area with Rimu, Matai, Totara and Kahikatea with other species like Kamahi and Rata.
Silver Beech are found further inland.