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Things To Do In Southland

Southland is an area of untamed beauty. Set amid rural heartland, native forest, hidden lakes, stunning waterfalls and remote golden beaches. This spectacular coastal stretch is home to an array of marine life. Seals and sea lions are regular beach visitors, while dolphins frolic in the shallows. The worlds rarest penguin, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, ... Show More

Tourist Information About Southland

Top Attractions

Nature at Night

Nature at Night

A small group tour to explore nature in the night time. Encounter long-tailed ba ......

Bat Walk Tour

Bat Walk Tour

On this two hour tour we will take you to a survey area where bats are known to ......

Affinity Cruises

Affinity Cruises

We take you further and get you closer than the larger vessels. Our smaller size ......

Tourist Information About Southland

Southland is an area of untamed beauty. Set amid rural heartland, native forest, hidden lakes, stunning waterfalls and remote golden beaches. This spectacular coastal stretch is home to an array of marine life. Seals and sea lions are regular beach visitors, while dolphins frolic in the shallows. The worlds rarest penguin, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, nests around the Curio Bay and Waikawa area. There is a lot to see and do here and lots of attractions and activities including enjoying the views from the Nugget Point Lighthouse, exploring the Cathedral Caves which soar to more than 30 metres overhead and appreciating the sheer beauty of the Purakaunui Falls, amongst the most photographed in the world. Catlins is also home to a 170-million-year-old Jurassic forest one of only three such accessible fossil forests in the world!

Best Attractions and things to do in Southland

Nugget Point Lighthouse

1. Nugget Point Lighthouse

Nugget Point Lighthouse takes the top spot on our list without a doubt. The view from here is certainly one of New Zealand's most spectacular, and getting here for sunrise is both simple and rewarding.

It's worth staying close to make the sunrise trip easier, as it's The Catlins' most popular destination.

The best sight is then reached after a short drive and a 15-minute stroll. It's about 34 kilometers down the track, directly at sunrise, with a view of the sea and the lighthouse. It's nearly impossible to overlook.

Cathedral Caves

2. Cathedral Caves

The roar of the water reverberates through the massive crater in the cliff. The Cathedral Caves are unlike anything you've ever seen before in terms of size and sound, and they'll make you feel little! After a few minutes of bushwalking, the 1-hour trek to them is mostly a stroll down the beach. Check the opening times, as it is only accessible during low tide. The photos you can find of these caves don't do it justice from the sheer size of them - it will blow your mind away!

Surat Bay

3. Surat Bay

Every day, visitors flock to Surat Bay to see the sea lions, but the history of the bay is also fascinating. It was named after the ship Surat, which sank in the bay in 1874, which you may be able to observe.

Purakaunui Bay & Falls

4. Purakaunui Bay & Falls

The breathtaking bay is home to a magnificent beach with steep cliffs. A simple Department of Conservation campsite can be found on the beach's edge. Purakaunui Falls, a beautiful waterfall hidden at the end of a short 5-minute trek, are nearby. It's a short drive from Kaka Point and an easy 20-minute walk to get here. This one has a good reward-to-effort ratio.

Slope Point

5. Slope Point

Don't miss the South Island's most southern point. If you're not planning on visiting Stewart Island, this is likely the furthest south you'll ever travel! Slope Point is also an excellent spot for viewing the raging southern ocean. It's a lovely site that's only a 20-minute walk across private farmland away. There will be a yellow signpost pointing to the equator and the South Pole once you arrive. The perfect opportunity for a candid photo!

Tunnel Hill

6. Tunnel Hill

In the late 1800s, the tunnel was created to connect Balclutha and Owaka in preparation for railway construction. The sight of the tunnel in the middle of nowhere harkens back to the colonial era, when people were determined to construct no matter how high the mountain or how remote the location.

Tunnel Hill is the world’s southernmost railway tunnel. Something to cross off your bucket list!

The petrified forest

7. The petrified forest

Curio Bay's petrified forest is a world-famous geological phenomenon. See the ancient tree trunks and stumps of a fossilized forest during low tide. A pod of Hector's dolphins, the world's tiniest dolphins, and even yellow-eyed penguins call Curio Bay home. This woodland was formed during the Jurassic period and is now fossilized. Today, you may stroll through this forest and see it alongside its living counterpart.

Catlins River and Wisp Loop Track

8. Catlins River and Wisp Loop Track

The two trails together cover more than 24 kilometers and comprise a full two-day hike. It's a terrific way to get out into the native forest and spend the night at a remote campsite. Both routes can be completed in less than a day for people who do not wish to camp.

Porpoise Bay

9. Porpoise Bay

Porpoise Bay is right near Curio Bay. A pod of Hector's dolphins that visits during the summer and autumn is the major attraction. They are a critically endangered species and the world's tiniest dolphins.

The only site where dolphins come close to the coast without being tempted by humans feeding them is Porpoise Bay.

Matai Falls

10. Matai Falls

Take a 30-minute hike through a secluded woodland with mossy trunks and branches for a breathtaking experience. All of this leads to the Catlins Forest Park's Matai Stream, which features two waterfalls: Matai Falls and Horseshoe Falls.


Best things to do near Southland

1. The Mountain Experience Quad Bike Tour: This is a thrilling and exciting way to explore the rugged terrain. You'll ride a quad bike over hills, valleys, and through streams, taking in the stunning views of the region. This is a great way to experience the outdoors and get an adrenaline rush.

2. Milford Sound Luxury Private tour: This tour takes you to the spectacular Milford Sound and offers a unique and luxurious way to explore the region. You'll have a private guide and enjoy the stunning views of the sound, the fiords and the Southern Alps, and have a chance to spot unique wild animals.

3. Milford Sound, Southern Alps and Fiordland National Park Heli Flight: This is a spectacular way to see the Milford Sound, the Southern Alps, and the Fiordland National Park from above. You'll fly over rugged mountains, glaciers, and alpine meadows and get an unforgettable view of the region.

4. Stewart Island: Fly | Explore | Fly: This tour takes you to the beautiful Stewart Island, where you'll fly to the island, spend time exploring and seeing the unique wildlife, and then fly back. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Stewart Island and see the unique wildlife such as the kiwi birds.

5. Glacier Galore: This tour takes you to the glaciers of the region, where you can see the stunning views of the glaciers, ice formations, and alpine landscapes. You'll have a chance to land on the glacier and walk around and explore the area.

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