Chasing sun and surf, droves of holidaymakers descend on Curio Bay in summer. For beach-lovers the focal point is Porpoise Bay, a reliably wave-lashed arc of sand and arguably the best swimming beach in the Catlins. Blue penguins nest in the dunes and in summer (December to February) Hector’s dolphins come here to rear their young.
Nearby, other natural curiosities merit a visit: a Jurassic-age forest lies just south in Curio Bay while 15km west is the trailhead for a short walk to Slope Point, South Island's most southerly point.
Curio Bay is whisper-quiet in winter (June to August). Regardless of the season, it's handy to bring food provisions and a full tank of fuel along this sparse stretch of coast.