Slip into an enchanted world of leafy hill country, where land rises sharply from the coast to the inland ranges, and where rivers and waterfalls abound.

This wooded, wild coastal corner is the most unsung of South Island regions. The Purakaunui Falls cascades 20 metres in three tiers while the most amusing waterfall is the Niagara Falls (named by a surveyor with a sense of humour) which falls less than a metre.

Beyond the captivating scenery there are also many activities for the visitor. At Curio Bay, along The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail, you can see the petrified remains of a forest that’s over 160 million years old. Journey on to Nugget Point and you will see amazing wildlife including fur seals, Hooker’s sea lions and sea elephants as well as yellow—eyed and blue penguins and blue penguins and, often, Hector’s dolphins playing in the waves. Or take a walk through the beech forest of The Catlins River Wisp Loop Walk and see some rare native birds such as the mohua (yellowhead) and native parakeets.

There are some excellent restaurants and accommodation in the area is full of local character particularly if you stay at a B&B, farmstay or self-contained cottage.