Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
Catlins a surprise for locals and visitors alike
Thinking about a move to Southland? There’s so much to see and do including the stunning nearby Catlins.
The general response from Southlanders when they jump in the car and take the short drive up the road to The Catlins is: ‘‘Why the heck don’t we do this more often?’’
Many would say The Catlins is the quintessential representation of New Zealand, and with some unique wonders to discover every few minutes along the way, they’d be right. Whether you’re into having an adventure-filled time in the outdoors, or enjoying the tranquillity of the area with a bit of luxury, there’s something for everyone right here in our own backyard.
Forming part of the worldfamous Southern Scenic Route, The Catlins takes you on a journey through native forest, rolling farmland, and stunning coastline.
The area is home to some quirky and friendly locals, which includes its thriving wildlife. At Curio Bay you can spot Hoiho as they come ashore after a day of fishing, to waddle home across a Jurassic-aged petrified forest (over 180 million years old!). Keep the camera handy for those cheeky sea lions that like to pop up out of the grasses at Waipapa Point, or you might be lucky enough to paddle alongside some
Hector’s Dolphins dipping through the waves at one of the many great surf spots along the coast.
The Catlins is full of magical, hidden spots. You’ll be blown away when you emerge from a short walk in the bush to the beauty of Lake Wilkie, Pu¯ra¯kaunui Falls or McLean Falls. Take a moment to feel dwarfed by the vast expanse of the Cathedral Caves, or the huge ‘gold-nuggetlike’ rock formations at Nugget Point. The lookout to the famously photographic Nuggets sits just below its historic lighthouse, which almost mimics its Waipapa Point counterpart at the other end of The Catlins.
You’re likely to work up a decent appetite during your exploration of The Catlins. Thankfully, there are plenty of great coffee spots and eateries along the way, which offer fresh, local produce and delicious homemade delicacies. If you’re inclined to quench your thirst, make sure to pop in to the local brewery and sample a refreshing cold beer or cider.
The biggest regret of travellers coming through the Catlins? That they didn’t plan nearly enough time so book a night at one of the local motels, holiday homes or small B&B’s that overlook the stunning bays in the region. Or if you’re travelling with the family there’s plenty of camping spots to choose from to enjoy a remote getaway.
For more information visit www. southlandnz.com.