The Catlins region in southern New Zealand is a rugged natural retreat where wilderness and farmland co-exist, plus beech and podocarp trees grow in the rainforest. Filled with abundant native bird life the forests extend from hill tops to the coast. The headlands and beaches of the diverse coast are home to sub-antarctic wildlife such as yellow-eyed penguins, oceanic seabirds and sea lions. The Catlins is a haven for those who love nature and a place to stay a while in order to enjoy the freedom of the many eco-tourism opportunities.
These Catlins tours cater to the varied tastes of visitors to the region. You can choose cosy self-catering cottage accommodation with advice from the owners on how to discover the area; or take one of the walks or eco-tour packages to explore, see the wildlife, and learn about the natural history of the area. The tour guides and hosts have known the Catlins from childhood and have welcomed guests for eco-tours and eco-friendly accommodations since 1990. The eco-tours emphasise rare wildlife viewing plus nature education and are highly rated. (Awarded the New Zealand Ecotourism Award 1993, New Zealand Activity and Adventure Tourism Award 1996 and recommended by travel guides such as ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘The Rough Guide’). With their life-time commitment to, and knowledge of, conservation and education they provide quality experiences.
Tours include the popular Catlins Traverse walk which is a two day/three night fully guided and catered 30 km walk across The Catlins from the inland beech forest to the coast at Papatowai Beach. Walk over private land which provides a variety of great views, historic features, and rare wildlife.
There are three walks scheduled so far for this season, please enquire about other times to suit your group.
1. The Traverse experience starts with a dinner on the first evening to meet the hosts and other walkers. After breakfast the following morning, walkers are transported through the scenic Owaka Valley to the inland beech forest where the walk begins. While walking down the Catlins River Valley through beech forest, walkers are accompanied by a guide and have opportunities to see rare native birds such as yellowhead (mohua) and rifleman (titipounamu). The accommodation is in one of the private eco- cottages at Mohua Park. Located in a tranquil forest setting, the eco-cottages provide comfortable accommodation and walkers are provided with a full dinner at the historic old house on the property at Mohua Lodge.
2. The second day’s walk follows the spectacular old rail route over Puketiro saddle and down the Maclennan Valley to the coast at Papatowai. On this day walkers see Matai Falls and enjoy extensive forest and farmland views. The day ends with another lovely dinner with your hosts overlooking the beach and bay at Papatowai. Walkers stay the night and leave after breakfast on the last day. This walk is for those of sound fitness—light packs only are needed as overnight requirements will be carried to Mohua Lodge. Be prepared for 6-7 hours walk per day. Vehicles may be left at Mohua Park, contact the organisers for other transport information.
Group size is usually about eight plus guide. All meals, including lunches, are supplied.
DATES: The dates for the Catlins Traverse walk so far this summer (2011-12) are:
- 25-28 November
- 17-20 December
- 27-30 January
- 17-20 February
- 9-12 March
- (Note that the traverse walk can be arranged at other times to suit your group)