beautiful beaches of Catlins waterfalls Nugget Point lighthouse

Activities in Owaka, Catlins

Experience wildlife such as yellow-eyed (hoiho) penguins, fur seals and Hooker's sea lions in their natural surroundings. Bush walks, waterfalls, the Petrified Forest, Cathedral Caves, sea and ocean views and fantastic sunrises all exist within our piece of paradise.

Owaka caters for the fishing, hunting and dining crowd, as well as the nature lover with abundant bush walks and spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife. Walk along the beaches and get a close look at some seals or penguins.

Don't forget a drive to Pounawea or Surat Bay where the SS Surat was wrecked in 1874. Treasure hunters can comb the harbour for ballast tossed from nineteenth-century immigrant ships.

The local info centre and museum has a great display of the region's bush cutting and shipping history.

Head south, skirting the harbour, then hike to Jack's Blowhole or visit the Purakaunui Falls, which cascade over a series of ledges amid dense forest of podocarp and beech.

  • View the sea lions at Surat Bay
  • Walk along Cannibal Bay, historic Maori site
  • Tunnel Hill Rail Tunnel – bring or hire a torch
  • Purakaunui Falls – 10-minute walk with 2 lookouts
  • Lake Wilkie – picturesque, beautiful, still, only a 10-minute walk
  • Cathedral Caves – a natural wonder
  • Natural surroundings – relaxing beach walks, river walks and native bush walks
  • Tramping – for all levels of fitness
  • Sea fishing – around the rugged Catlins coastline
  • Blowhole – view at Jack's Bay
  • Tautuku Bay – 15-minute forest walk, Outdoor Education Centre
  • Hayward Point, Owaka Heads – historically a busy timber port
  • Nugget Point – lighthouse built in 1869, seal colony and great views
  • Kaka Point – seaside experience on the journey to Kaka Point

Surat Bay and Cannibal Bay

View endangered New Zealand sea lions (whakahao).

Nugget Point

Lighthouse built in 1869, seal colony and great views over the nuggets.

Purakaunui Falls

A 20-minute return walk to a 20-metre high waterfall.

McLean Falls

A 40-minute return walk to a 22-metre high waterfall.

Cathedral Caves

A natural wonder accessible at low tide (small road fee).

Curio Bay

An ancient petrified forest (approx. 180 million years old) of international significance.

Jack's Blowhole

A 1-hour return walk to a blowhole 100 metres inland from the sea.