A day in the Catlins, NZ

Last month we took a day trip to the Catlins with Awesome Tours  and it was an…. AWESOME day!!

The Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. You will journey past rugged coastlines, through rural heartland and forests, hidden lakes and amazing waterfalls.

We left Dunedin early in the morning and made our way to Invercargill to see the Tuataras at Southland Museum. Tuataras are a reptile native to New Zealand that has unique ancient lineage that dates back to the time of dinosaurs.
Fun facts – they can stay completely still for up to one hour! (you can’t even see them breathing) and they can live to be 100.


We then made our way to Waipapa Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built after a tragic shipwreck in 1881. This was a great spot with heaps of information boards about the area and some wildlife on the beach!

Sea Lions Sunbathing on the beach



Next up was the petrified forest! The fossilised trees were believed to be alive 180 million years ago. Volcanic activity was believed to have destroyed the forest, it eventually grew back and was destroyed again at least 4 times over 20,000 years. This sequence of events has left what is there today, fosilised wood that feels like stone! There’s even full tree trucks that look like they have fallen flat across the ground.

We stopped and had a picnic lunch in Curio bay and were excited to find that the wild dolphins were putting on a show! I was in awe and couldn’t take my eyes away so unfortunately I didn’t get any photos. There were a few different pods leaping out of the water, doing flips and swimming near beach goers, it was just amazing.

We then headed to McLean Falls, which was absolutely stunning! Sam had a swim in the freezing water and got some cool footage on the Go Pro – which you might see in an up and coming video!! (yay exciting)



Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset


Lake Wilkie

Nugget point Lighthouse was our final stop for the day which is an iconic spot in the Catlins. It gets its name from the nugget shaped islands you can see from the lighthouse.


Thanks for reading!

Laura xx




Add yours →

  1. Wonderful lighthouse! I’m jealous 🙂
    Thanks for the follow. Enjoy the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like an amazing trip! Very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your commentary and photos. And I love that area of NZ, too, though I wasn’t fortunate enough to see dolphins in Curio Bay 😦


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