Kaka Point is a great way to start your day in exploring the rugged Catlins. The walk is only 20 minutes out to the dramatic “Nuggets”. These are jagged rock formation that look like nuggets of gold and can be seen from the viewing area at the Lighthouse. On the walk out you may see a fur seal colony, seabirds, yellow eyed penguins or other marine wildlife.
Purakaunui Falls Scenic Reserve is a short walk through a notable Silver Beech forest alongside the river. Once you hit the 20 metre high, falls cascading over three tiers get the camera out as this is a photo op you don’t want to miss. It has even been featured on a New Zealand postage stamp. Other falls in the area are the McLean and Matai Falls.
Papatowai is where the forest meets the sea. This is an ancient exploration with 1000 year old trees, rocks containing fossils from the dinosaur era. There is a beautiful estuary filled with many different types of birds. Walk through the forest tracks to the sandy beaches where you can see fur seals, penguins and enjoy some amazing fishing. A great spot for a picnic and a day of exploration.
Lake Wilkie is a short walk from the road through a natural reclaimed forest leading to the lake. You will see moss to full mature forests in this short walk with interpretive signage to explain the regeneration of the forest and lake. The lake is a bog lake with is unusual and being populated by tiny frogs. A tranquil setting and a great place to see the Rata in bloom in December.
Curio Bay is real unspoilt nature, no admission fees or lines to see this Jurassic Petrified Forest and rare wildlife up-close. Summer and autumn you may have a chance of seeing the Hector Dolphins feeding. This is also a nesting site for the unique Yellow Eyed and Blue Penguin, seals and sea lions. The coast is a rugged beauty and a great place for swimming, fishing and other water sports.