Travelling The Catlins Coastal scenic route New Zealand will take you through a slice of beautiful country best described as unplugged! The Caitlins represents the rural heartland of New Zealand. This area contains a stunning rugged coastline  and the most photographed waterfall in the country

What to see travelling The Catlins Coastal scenic route New Zealand

Nugget Point cliffs

Today, we left Balclutha and slowly entered an untamed environment where great value is placed on personal freedoms. As we drove by a deserted driftwood beach, a man and his horse could be seen silhouetted against the sun. We waved at each other.

Man on horse

We stopped at kaka Point then travelled along gravel road towards Nugget point. This is a must-do stop for travellers visiting The Catlins. The views are beautiful from the Florence Hill Lookout.

Florence Hill Lookout with Michael

Nugget point is 23km from Kaka Point. To view the lighthouse at Nugget Point we parked out vehicle in the large public carpark and walked the last 900m to the Lighthouse. Some of the walk is steep in places, but the views are worth it!

Nugget Point Lighthouse

There are so many scenic highlights on the way up to the lighthouse.

Nugget Point rock formation.pg

By the time you get to The Caitlins, you’ve probably seen a lot fur seals. It seems that international visitors can’t get enough of them. You’ll find plenty here as well. After leaving Nugget Point we drove on to the small township of Owaka. Once again, we’re reminded of how much people love to collect stuff…like teapots! You can’t miss the Owaka Teapot Collection.

Owaka Teapots

The Owaka Museum was definitely worth a visit. The latte we had in Owaka had a weird mountain of froth on top but it tasted good. Refreshed, we headed off to the Purakaunui Falls, the much photographed New Zealand waterfall. We started with a 10 min forest walk leading to the waterfall. The actual waterfall is a magnificent sight – masses of water cascading over 3 tiers of solid rock.

Caitlins Forest Walk

Why is it that people feel a compulsion to climb and conquer everything they see? Yet again, we see visitors, including New Zealanders, showing disrespect for a beautiful environment. We came across a father encouraging his adult son to scramble up the waterfall, thus scraping away 20 years growth of lichen and moss with each step. Shouldn’t we show some restraint sometimes and just be content to quietly view nature’s handiwork?

Parakaunui Falls

After the waterfall, we drove on to Cathedral Caves. The caves are located on privately-owned Maori land. There is a small entrance fee which helps to maintain the road leading into the carpark. After the waterfall, we began a 20 min walk through a podocarp and Kamahi forest leading to this lovely beach.

Cathedral Caves Beach

At the far end we could see the magnificent Cathedral Caves.

Cathedral Caves2

The cave interior resembles a massive cathedral like structure. The acoustics are perfect for an Italian aria and this man could not restrain himself.

Cathedral Caves 3

There are limited accommodation options in The Catlins but just around the corner from the Cathedral Caves, we discovered a place that would suit a variety of travellers. The Whistling Frog Café and Resort may have an eccentric name but the owners have put a lot of thought into creating something unique with a community feeling.

The Whistling Frog

The Whistling Frog has small cabins and fully self-contained modern cottages. There is a good family restaurant on-site, plus live music to relax by.

The Whistling Frog2

Plenty of things to see travelling The Catlins Coastal scenic route New Zealand.

Happy Travelling.

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2 responses to “Travelling The Catlins Coastal scenic route New Zealand”

  1. Jan Roberts says:

    Love the Catlins and all it’s offerings – such a diverse landscape and love those little quirky cafes and treasures along the way. Agree whole heartly regarding people clambering over things they shouldn’t – ruing for future generations. Thankfully there aren’t too many people like that and we can enjoy the nature beauty for what it is – natural beauty.

  2. GuestNZ says:

    I did feel a real connection to this place, especially Riverton, where we stayed for 3 days – amazing and pretty much undiscovered by mainstream tourissm (maybe that’s a good thing). We think some of our customers would really love it. Takes a special person to enjoy a special place like this.

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