To the east, a sparkling blue and green jewel in Southland’s crown is The Catlins. It’s a large area to cover but, benefiting from long daylight hours in the summer, there is plenty of time to explore.
Over an hour’s drive from Gore is Nugget Point. Wind past quintessential Kiwi ‘cribs’, many of which are holiday homes available to rent (holidayhouses.co.nz, bookabach.co.nz), to the start of a short walk to the Lighthouse. Spot the fur seal colony below the cliffs and marvel at the rocky islets scattered below the daring lookout deck.
It’s worth pulling over to see the McLean Falls, Lake Wilkie, Cathedral Caves and Curio Bay’s petrified forest and penguins. Plan to stop at the colourful Catlins Cafe or food-truck-meetsmini-art-world The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Owaka, as well as the Niagara Falls Cafe based in Niagara’s quaint old school house (catlins.org.nz).
Whichever road you turn down, they’ll be something special waiting in Southland. southlandnz.com
above: The Caitlins’ Cathedral Caves at Waipati Beach; Nugget Point Lighthouse; a view of the historic petrified forest at Curio Bay.
The Catlins Cafe in Owaka
(centre) is one of many local eateries serving the region’s beloved cheese rolls (above
left). The Niagara Falls
Cafe in Niagara’s school house (above right); the majestic McLean Falls on the Tautuku River in Catlins Conservation Park (below).