Vaguely canoe-shaped in honour of the town name (Owaka means 'place of the canoe'), this modern museum is a pleasant surprise. Salty tales of shipwrecks are well explained in short video presentations, Māori and frontier stories grippingly displayed, and an interesting array of artefacts exhibited. It doubles as the main information centre for the Catlins; ask about the 24km Catlins River–Wisp Loop Track.
One of its prized possessions is a marae stone brought to Aotearoa from the island of Mehetia near Tahiti, 4000km away, by early settlers. It was recently rediscovered in the Catlins.