Celebrated Vistas and Wildlife in the Catlins
Sparsely populated - save for the wildlife who call this rugged coastline home - the Catlins in the southern tip of the South Island offers views of some of New Zealand’s most stunning natural beauty.
Your tour begins at 8am from your accommodation as we head south along the Southern Scenic route, through the sea-side village of Brighton before stopping for photos at the mouth of the mighty Taieri River. Continuing on you will go through Waihola and Balclutha before arriving in Owaka, the gateway to the Catlins. Your first short walk takes you to Nugget Point, the most iconic landform of the Otago Coastline. From here you will see the several rugged rocks likened to gold nuggets where NZ fur seals and many NZ seabirds can be viewed. If you visit between December and February there is always the chance of seeing a huge Elephant Seal from the viewing platform. Continuing south our next stop is at a picturesque bay known to be a favourite haul-out site for the rarest sea lion in the world, the New Zealand sea lion. After being hunted to near extinction, only about 200 remain on the mainland. Stand in awe of their magnificence, you’ll be as close as 10 metres from one of these wonderful marine mammals.
Driving through native coastal rainforest surrounded by ancient trees your next short walk takes you to the highest waterfall in the Catlins. Your guide will introduce you to several native bush birds and native plants before you arrive at the McLean Falls, arguably the most spectacular of all the waterfalls in the Catlins. Further south you will get the opportunity to look for one of the rarest and smallest dolphins in the world – the Hectors dolphin. The nutrient-rich waters attract this dolphin to become resident in one of the bays on the Catlins coast during the warmer months. You will be taken to the best vantage points to look for these dolphins while you guide prepares light refreshments.
Your last stop is at a 180 million year old petrified forest that is revealed at low tide. The fossilised remains of an ancient forest can clearly be seen, representing one of only three accessible sites in the world. Depending on your travel arrangements, our guide can drop you off when the tour ends at 6pm in Invercargill, the Stewart Island Ferry Terminal or take you back to your accommodation in Dunedin.
7.30am from all Dunedin accommodation providers. Please note, this tour is unavailable to cruise ship passengers
5.30pm at all Dunedin accommodation providers. Please note, if you would like to be dropped off in Invercargill this can be arranged during the booking process
Maximum 18 tour participants
1-4 PAX – $798.00NZD
5-10 PAX – $1150.00NZD
11-15PAX – $1350.00NZD
Tour includes guide, vehicle and Department of Conservation fees only. Lunch is not included however we’ll make a stop in the township of Owaka where there are several options
What To Bring:
On fine days shorts or light trousers and everyday shirts are fine however we advise that you come prepared in case there is a ‘Southerly Change’. To do this, wear three layers on top and bring a waterproof jacket. Wear shorts or light trousers (avoid denim and cotton) and good footwear. Feel free to bring a small backpack with snacks and a water bottle
Susan C: We were taken on the most comprehensive tour of Dunedin area. All in all we had a wonderful never to be forgotten visit...
Craig R: All in all, Back to Nature was a Great decision! All tours were great, the drivers/guides were knowledgeable and friendly...
Nellie195105: He had so much information to give us and took us to some out of the way places that we would not have seen on a big bus...