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The Catlins, long referred to as the "Forgotten Coast," because of it's inaccessible and off-the-beaten-track, location in the South Eastern Corner of the South Island of New Zealand is being discovered. The tar-sealing of the road and inclusion of this region in the spectacular "Southern Scenic Route" from Queenstown to Dunedin via Invercargill has put it firmly on the 'must see' tourist map.
The unique rugged coastline, iconic natural landscape features and the 56,000 hectares of native Podocarp forest offer travellers a snap shot of New Zealand as it was in ancient times. The Jurassic Era petrified forest being but one example of an iconic feature that is free to view at Curio Bay. The nearby Porpoise Bay plays host to the rare Hector's Dolphins that inhabit this pristine Southern Ocean environment.
Further into the Catlins you will find the mighty Cathedral Caves that can be viewed two hours either side of low tide. A picturesque walk up to the tallest falls in the Catlins, known as the McLean Falls will provide peeks of the ferns and lichens left over from the ice age.
Plan an overnight stopover at the Catlins Eco Tourism Resort at McLean Falls or a "whistle-stop" meal or coffee and a giant Catlins scone, devonshire style, at the quirky, acclaimed, Whistling Frog Cafe and Bar. This will offer a welcome break on this sparsely populated portion of the Southern Scenic Route.
We suggest that you allow yourself two days to see the Catlins properly, as there are many wildlife attractions and photo opportunities that are best seen at sunrise or sunset and in some cases low tide.
A FREE four-color, Catlins self guide map is available online at: www.catlinsnz.com
Download the free app to your smartphone:
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