The Catlins is an area just over an hour south of Dunedin, and is somewhere I have been a number of times. We took Tiny there when he was one, and it was great – he wasn’t walking at that stage, but strapping him in to the Ergo made it a really easy place to visit.
The ever-changing landscape is simply stunning – the rugged and wild coast, deserted beaches and dense forest make for a dramatic journey, regardless of the time of year.
The biggest town in the area is Owaka…which isn’t very big at all! We stayed in the town last year, while on our last family-of-just-three holiday, and can highly recommend Catlins Retreat B&B as a wonderful place to stay. There isn’t much to see in the town itself, although Teapot Land is worth stopping at for a giggle.
Highlights of The Catlins include:
Situated on Waipati Beach, the two main caves join together within the cliff; the ceilings have a distinct cathedral shape, and are more than 30 metres high. The caves are only accessible at low tide, and there is a 30 minute forest walk to the beach.
The “nuggets” are chunks of rock that have eroded over time and resemble nuggets of gold submerged in the ocean. The wild views from the lighthouse are breathtaking, and the semi-steep walk back to the car is certainly worth it!
These beautiful falls are best seen following a few days of rain – in the height of a dry summer, they aren’t as spectacular as I know they can be! They cascade down from around 20 metres, and fall over three tiers of rock, and the short walk through a beech forest provides the perfect “secluded” feel.
This area is of significance because of its fossilised forest dating back around 160 million years. If you’re lucky, and pick the right time, you might also see little yellow-eyed penguins coming up the beach.