The Catlins, New Zealand

The Catlins

The Catlins: Wild, remote, rugged, and beautiful. I am lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world: New Zealand. So I wanted to share with you all a beautiful part of New Zealand that is only an hour’s drive away from my town.

“The Catlins is an area of great contrasts and natural beauty with an abundance of wildlife. From magnificent coastal cliffs and headlands, long sweeping beaches, coves and sandy bays; to extensive temperate rainforests, waterfalls and rolling farmland, the Catlins is a fascinating, rugged place “off the beaten track.””

With so many options within The Catlins, it can be hard to decide what to visit. Have no fear friend, here I present to you some of my favourite areas of The Catlins!

Curio/Porpoise Bay

I love this area because there is so much! On one side you have a beautiful sandy beach to go swimming and surfing. This side is called Porpoise Bay and, as the name suggests, if

Curio Bay
Curio Bay, fossilized forest and where penguin spotting happens.

you’re lucky you may get to swim with dolphins. Swimming with dolphins in the wild is truly an amazing and entertaining experience. Watch the cheeky dolphins and see how to truly catch a wave! There have been a few incidents of tourists thinking they were seeing a sharks fin and causing the beach to evacuate, but it has always turned out to be a dolphin, probably wondering where all his new buddies have gone. Head on over to the other side of the area to Curio Bay, home of the Petrified Forest. Here you can go fossil hunting and marvel at the fossilized tree trunks that are all over the place. Stay on into the evening for a chance to see penguins returning from their daily hunt and making their way up to the bushes to feed their chicks. While penguins are beautiful and graceful in the water, the same cannot be said for penguins on land. We have seen penguins fall flat on their faces, slide off rocks, and crash into each other. It is great entertainment and the penguins are never in a rush.

The Whistling Frog Café

MacLean waterfallOn the way to this café, there is beautiful scenery and peaceful roads, this is a nice drive to unwind on. At the café you will find accommodation, a wee gift shop, and amazing food! You can choose to sit in-doors and watch the videos of NZ scenery playing or you can choose to sit out-doors and unwind. Once you have finished eating, there is a driveway next to the café parking. Follow it. After driving by some farms and a lot of sheep, you will come to another carpark for a walkway. This walk is about 20minutes one way and I highly recommend it because at the end you are rewarded with The McLean Waterfalls. McLean Waterfall is so beautiful and you are able to get so close to this waterfall!

The Lost Gypsy Gallery.

The Lost Gypsy GalleryNot far from The Whistling Frog is a man, his house bus, and a whole heap of inventions to play with. Stop in and wander around his house bus/gallery. You will find old photos, newspaper articles, postcards, old money, and wee inventions he has dreamed up and tinkered with to perfection. Everyone who enters here is fascinated. For a small fee you can enter the rest of his gallery and see his larger inventions. And yes, everything is interactive. Another bonus about this place, the materials for his inventions have mostly been gathered from nearby beaches. Cleaning up the beaches and making cool stuff from other people’s litter? Heck yes! Sit under an old hair dryer and listen to the kakapo, play the piano which makes car noises, crank every handle and push every button. I promise you’ll love it!

Have you been to The Catlins? Have I missed anything? Are you adding The Catlins to your bucketlist? Let me know in the comments!


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