Nestled at the foot of the Ōwaka Valley, The Catlins' largest town, Ōwaka, is surrounded by rainforest, spectacular valleys, sandy beaches, and a large tidal lake.
In Te Reo Māori, Ōwaka means “the place of the canoe”.
In celebration of the town’s ingoa (name), a stunning canoe was sculpted out of stainless steel to commemorate its 150th anniversary. It has an estimated life span of 1200 years!
A visit to the modern Owaka Museum (Wahi Kahuika) is like walking through a 3D storybook. The building itself is a nod to the maritime history of the area. Inside, don’t miss the tales of The Catlins area’s rich Māori and pioneering past, from Māori settlements to shipwrecks.
From Balclutha, Ōwaka is just a 30 minute drive. En route, stop at the Tunnel Hill walkway, and explore the last remains of the old river railway that once travelled through the area. Remember to take a torch and keep an eye out for glow worms.
Top spots near Ōwaka: