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πŸš— self-drive itinerary

πŸ›οΈ minimum 2 night stay recommended

🍽️ dining suggestions offered

πŸ“… visit any time of year


Travel to New Zealand's Clutha Country and you'll find big, wide open spaces, deep rivers, blue mountains and undisturbed beaches; and most of all it is about welcoming everyone by the heartwarming action of saying hello.


Highlights can include:

  • time your visit right on low tide so you can explore the Cathedral Caves on Waipati Beach, where the sea has cut deep caverns as high as 30 metres πŸŒŠπŸšπŸ”¦
  • walk an easy 40-minute trail that leads to both the lower and upper waterfalls of photogenic McLean Falls and linger while you get your breath back πŸ‘ŸπŸ“Έ
  • drive the rough unsealed drive to Cannibal Bay, well known for its resident sea lions and incredible coastal views - please make sure you stay at least 25 metres from them at all times πŸŒŠπŸš
  • the interesting Taieri River Track travels for 8km alongside the Taieri River taking in a variety of different landscapes - note good footwear is essential as in parts the track can be muddy and slippery πŸ‘Ÿ
  • enjoy the dramatic coastal views from the Tokata / Nugget Point Lighthouse and glimpse seabirds and other wildlife in neighbouring Roaring Bay πŸ‘ŸπŸŒŠπŸ“Έ
  • on your adventures between places you'll likely drive across the bowstring Balclutha Road Bridge, one of the best-known bridges in New Zealand which spans the Clutha River 
  • take the short walk through mature rainforest to iconic Purakaunui Falls and capture your own photograph of the cascading three-tiered waterfall that deserves your attention πŸ“ΈπŸ€³
  • visitors to Teapot Land are delighted by the quirky unusual collection on display featuring more than a thousand tea pots - donations appreciated especially when a smile is brought to your face β˜•
  • take a moment to pull off the road at Florence Hill Lookout to take in the views over Tautuku Bay then stop at Lake Wilkie a small, picturesque lake formed after the last ice age and gradually shrunk to its current size πŸŒŠ
  • see the ancient trunks of trees where the exposed 'wood' looks just like wood, but feels like stone at Curio Bay's Petrified Forest πŸŒŠπŸšπŸ”
  • famous for its mirror-like reflections and recreation, tidal freshwaterLake Waihola is surrounded by wetlands renowned for wildlife  
  • walk the 20-minutes to arrive at Slope Point the most southerly point of the South Island, also home to much-loved permanently windswept twisted trees πŸ‘Ÿ
  • The Lost Gypsy Gallery is a unique exhibition inside a big green house bus filled by curious unusual little wonders made from bits and pieces collected at the nearby beach πŸŽ¨
  • seen at their best light around midday, Matai Falls Track is a very easy walk that takes you through regenerating forest to both Matai Falls and Horseshoe Falls πŸ‘Ÿ
  • don't let the gravel roads stop you from visiting secluded Chrystalls Beach with luscious golden sand as far as the eye can see πŸŒŠπŸš
  • if the weather is rough and wild, venture to Jack's Blowhole where you'll see an impressive display accompanied by roaring sound effects πŸ‘ŸπŸŒŠ
  • the small village of Tapanui at the base of the Blue Mountains and known as β€˜the town at the edge of the forest' is also the filming location for Disney's remake of Pete's Dragon πŸŽ¬
  • Owaka Museum offers a window into the region and the impact the sea has had on the region - also home to a shop, community gallery, library and information centre πŸ”ŽπŸŽ¨
  • flanking the southern end of The Catlins region, Waipapa Point Lighthouse is easily accessed and nearby beach is also popular with sea lions πŸŒŠπŸš



πŸ“ # of Visitors3.0

🐚 Beaches5.0

🌦️ Chance of Rain4.5

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ Family Fun2.0

πŸ›’ Shopping3.0

🍽️ Food + Wine 4.5

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly πŸ‘

Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0


πŸŽ₯video courtesy of Destination Clutha on YouTube


Length of stay
  • Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.


    Day 1 : Arrive in Clutha + The Catlins

    You'll travel to the region, arriving either by car or by coach. Upon arrival into the Clutha + The Catlins region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.


    This region all about short walks to amazing places. Get out there and appreciate it by taking the short walk to Waipapa Point Lighthouse where if you're lucky you might even spot a sea lion. Or surround yourself with nature on the boardwalks of Lake Wilkie before taking in the views overlooking the beautiful beach and perhaps the sunset from Florence Hill Lookout.


    Day 2 : don't go chasing waterfalls... said no one who visits here!

    First of all, plan your day around check the local tide timetable, and make sure you time your day around a visit to impressive Cathedral Caves which are best viewed 1 hour either side of low tide.


    Then jump in the car, and head on your mini road trip around this region taking in both Purakaunui Falls and McLean Falls where you can argue over which is the more beautiful, and which shot should appear in your social media.


    Plan also to take in Curio Bay's Petrified Forest and stumble across quirky TeaPot Land and be intrigued by The Lost Gypsy Gallery before discovering your own version of paradise that you could find any where in this breathtaking region.


    Whatever you've ended up doing with your day, as always we'll arrange dinner tonight for you to celebrate delicious New Zealand food and your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.


    Day 3 : Depart Clutha + The Catlins

    Get up early, and watch the sunrise over Tokata / Nugget Point Lighthouse watching for wildlife and pinching yourself if you catch an impressive colour palette. On your way out of this beautiful region, you'll likely cross the Clutha River via Balclutha Road Bridge to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.