Top things to do

Top Choice Natural Feature in Kaka Point & Around

Nugget Point

Reach one of the South Island's most jaw-dropping coastal lookouts via the 900m Nugget Point (Tokatā) walkway. Wave-thrashed cliffs give way abruptly to sapphire waters dotted with toothy islets known as the Nuggets…
Top Choice Cafe in Papatowai & Around

Whistling Frog Cafe & Bar

Colourful and fun, the Frog is the best dining option in the Catlins, offering craft beer on tap and crowd-pleasing meals, often garnished with flowers from the garden. We're talking seafood chowder, wood-fired pizz…
Top Choice Landmark in Curio Bay & Around

Slope Point

South Island’s true southerly point lies not in Bluff, as many mistakenly believe, but at the end of a 20-minute tramp through cliff-side meadows. From the trailhead, walk towards the sea and veer left along the fen…
Top Choice Waterfall in Owaka & Around

Purakaunui Falls

If you only see one waterfall in the Catlins, make it this magnificent cascade down three tiers of jet-black rock. It's an easy 15-minute clamber to reach the falls from the small parking area.Purakaunui Falls are a…
Cave in Papatowai & Around

Cathedral Caves

Cutting back into cliffs right on the beach, the huge, arched Cathedral Caves were carved out of the limestone by 160 million years of waves. Named for their acoustic properties, they are only accessible for two hou…
Viewpoint in Kaka Point & Around

Roaring Bay

Your best chance of spotting rare yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho) is from a hide at Roaring Bay, 8km south of Kaka Point's main drag. The hide is accessible throughout daylight hours but suggested viewing times are pos…
Gallery in Papatowai & Around

Lost Gypsy Gallery

Fashioned from remaindered bits and bobs, artist Blair Somerville's intricately crafted automata are wonderfully irreverent. The bamboozling collection inside a converted bus (free entry) is a teaser for the carniva…
Cafe in Waikawa & Around

Niagara Falls

Located in a former Victorian schoolhouse, this excellent cafe puts the emphasis on local produce. Free-range eggs, Stewart Island salmon and tasty lamb burgers feature on the fulsome menu (usually with a serve of h…
Natural Feature in Curio Bay & Around

Petrified Forest

Marvel at the rare phenomenon of fossilised forest, extending south of Curio Bay. Preserved by silica in the ashy floodwaters that submerged these Jurassic-era trees, craggy stumps create a dramatic contrast with th…
Lighthouse in Curio Bay & Around

Waipapā Lighthouse

Standing on a desolate but beautiful point surrounded by farmland, this 13.4m-high lighthouse was built after the SS Tararua disaster, an 1881 shipwreck that claimed 131 lives. The lighthouse was built three years l…