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! 

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Getting around the Clutha District

Distances and Driving times

  Milton Balclutha Owaka Lawrence Tapanui
55 km 
(45 mins)

30 km 
(25 mins)

48 km 
(40 mins)

85 km 
(1 hr 5)

40 km 
(30 mins)
92 km 
(1 hr 10)

70 km 
(55 mins)

87 km 
(1 hr 10)

54 km 
(40 mins)
38 km 
(30 mins)

(45 mins)

86 km 
(1 hr 5)
56 km 
(45 mins)

31 km 
(25 mins)

25 km 
(20 mins)



Electric Vehicle Charging Stations


It is easy to get to the Clutha District - see distances and drive times below.

Dunedin Airport - Balclutha 57 km north (45 minute drive)
Invercargill Airport - Balclutha 130 km south (1 hour 40 drive)
Queenstown Airport - Balclutha 223 km via Central Otago (2 hr 50 minute drive)


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.


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



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.

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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.