Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail

5 hours (one way)

Highlights

  • Niagara Falls waterfall
  • Porpoise Bay
  • Slope Point

Proximity

  • By walking: SOUTHLAND
  • By car: 1 hour from Invercargill
  • By car: 2 hours 20 mins from Dunedin

GRADE: EASY

The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail takes you to see isolated beaches, a fossilised forest, Hector's dolphins and many historic sites.

Southland
Waikawa Bay, Southland

By linda jenkins

Southland
Curio Bay, Catlins Forest Park, Southland

By NZ Tourism

Southland
Slope Point, Southland

By testpatern

Southland
Curio Bay, Catlins, Southland

By Southland, New Zealand

The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail is a detour off the Southern Scenic Route, which runs between Dunedin and Te Anau. The trail is a series of short walks and places of interest linked by easy drives. 

Start the trail in the north at Niagara Falls, a short waterfall named by a surveyor with a keen sense of humour, before moving on to a concrete horse trough, used by early horse teams.

 

At Waikawa there's a museum and the former St Mary's Anglican Church. From the wharf there is a 20-minute walk along the beach on what was once a coach road.

 

Porpoise Bay is the next stop - home to the rare Hector's dolphin. Nearby is Curio Bay, a world renowned fossil forest best viewed at low tide. Travel on to Waipohatu forest area with picnic sites, before venturing onto Slope Point, the most southerly point of the South Island.

 

Return to the main road and the Tararua Acre, the burial site of casualties from the wreck of the SS Tararua.

 

Your final port of call is Fortrose, where there is a blacksmith's shop and the area's oldest European cemetery. From here, you can carry on to Invercargil for the night; it's about a 40 minute drive away.

More information

Getting there

  • The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail is a detour off the Southern Scenic Route, which runs between Dunedin and Te Anau. 
  • The trail is a series of walks and places of interest linked by easy drives.
  • You need to allow at least five hours (one-way) to visit all the places of interest and complete all the walks.

Need to know

For more information, download this Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail brochure (pdf).

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