Curio Bay - A 160 million year old fossilized forest.
Waipapa Point. Historic lighthouse - scene of NZ's worst civilian shipwreck the SS Tararua, in 1881. Sealions live here.
The Nuggets. A dramatic seascape with lighthouse, fur seals, and nearby yellow-eyed penguins.
Slope Point, South Island's most southerly point. A gravel road turns off the Curio Bay-Haldane Road, taking you six km to the parking site for a walk across private farmland to the Slope Point light. On a rare still day it can be absolutely stunning here. Please note that the walkway is closed for lambing during October and November.
The Catlins River walk is one of the best-kept secrets around. It is absolutely beautiful and costs nothing except the fuel to get to Tawanui camping-group from where the five-hour walk starts. You really need a car at the other end (The Wisp) so that you don't have a ten-hour tramp!) Swap keys at the half-way point and meet back at Owaka. If you're lucky you might see a Mohua (yellow-head) a rare and beautiful little native bird. You will certainly see some tomtits which, clinging to tree-trunks look for all the world like black and white butterflies. The bed of the river in places is sheer rock which gives it a unique look. There are some scary wire bridges but no-one has fallen in off one as far as we know.
Purakanui Falls - The primeval forest leading to them is worth the trip alone.
Catlins Wildlife Trackers, 744 Catlins Valley Road (Off the Soutern Scenic Route 10 kms south of Owaka), ☎ 64 3 4158613, . 3 nights. Two day, three night small group eco-tours to see and learn about The Catlins rainforest and coast. Sub antarctic penguins and marine mammals are seen. Tours are fully catered in comfortable home-stay accommodation and home-cooked meals. Tours are personalised and guided by hosts Fergus and Mary Sutherland who have 20 years experience in hosting visitors to The Catlins and are well qualified with Masters degrees and conservation credentials.NZ$730.
Cathedral Caves. Open only at low tide.
McLean Falls. A beautiful nature's garden leads to the highest of the local waterfalls
Waipohatu Forest Walks -short and long. Close to the turnoff for the South Island's southernmost point (Slope Point), Waipohatu offers a sheltered contrast to the wild coast. There are two walks, one of wheelchair standard, 1km, with diverse ferns, podocarps and broad-leaved trees; the other a three hour adventure to two hidden falls.
Catlins Backpackers, 24 Main Road, Owaka, ☎ +64 3 412 8111, . Two cosy and beautifully renovated cottages with 3 individually decorated rooms each. The CAT room really is the proverbial whiskers and the BEE room is really buzzing . No bunks here and shared rooms have no more than 3 beds. Sunny lawns and decks, comfortable lounges, a log fire and heaters in every room make this accommodation a popular choice with travellers from all over the world all year round. An excellent base to explore the Catlins.$23/56 (Bed in a shared room/Double,Twin).
Catlins Mohua Park (Catlins Wildlife Trackers), 744 Catlins Valley Road (15 Kilometres South of Owaka), ☎ 64 3 4158613, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 1PM. Set deep in the heart of The Catlins, Mohua Park offers luxury self-catering accommodation in a tranquil natural setting. Eco-friendly solar design cottages all have great views and acccess to a private native forest reserve. Mohua Park is within walking distance of the Catlins River for trout fishing and the Catlins River Track for bush walking. Within 20 minutes drive is the wildlife-rich Catlins coast.NZ$170.
Hilltop Accommodation (Papatowai), 77 Tahakopa Valley Road (Overlooking Papatowai. Turn inland between the store and the estuary), ☎ 03 4158028, . Two refurbished character farm cottages, set against native forest and with spectacular sea and valley views. Ensuite, double, twin and bunks$25 - $90.
The Garden House near Fortrose. Holiday home set in large garden on coastal farming property, everything supplied, just bring your food and wine..christine at fortrose.org.nz ph 0064 3 246 9526