Catlin Area, Dunedin, New Zealand
Catlins / Spectacular Otago Coast
The Catlins area sits at the bottom of the South Island, running from Dunedin in the north to Invercargill in the South and up to Te Anau.
The area covers the following distances: Dunedin to Owaka: 115km; Owaka to Invercargill: 130km; Invercargill to Te Anau: 153km.
The Catlins region offers visitors spectacular coastal views and untouched flora and fauna. Hector’s dolphin, Hooker’s sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins and many sea birds frequent the area.
The scenery in the Catlins features rivers, waterfalls, lakes, caves, forests and beaches.
The Cathedral Caves are a 30-minute forest and beach walk that leads to 30-metre high caves, accessible at low tide only, being at beach level.
is a wildlife sanctuary for yellow-eyed Penguins, fur and elephant seals and many sea birds.
The 20-minute walk from the car park to an historic lighthouse
, built in 1869, is spectacular.
The main service area of the Catlins is the tiny town of Owaka (population 450).
Yellow-eyed Penguin - Protected Penguins
"Penguin Place" is a sheep farm but also home to the world's most endangered penguin - the yellow-eyed penguin.
There are only 5.000-6.000 of them in existence, with around a quarter living on the East Coast of the South Island and Stewart Island.
The remainder live on the Campbell and Auckland islands about 600km to the south.
Maori named the yellow-eyed penguin the hoiho, meaning 'the noise shouter' as the penguin's call can be ear-piercing.
The Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve is situated near the end of the Otago Peninsula, 40 minutes drive from Dunedin and five minutes from the Albatross Colony.
The reserve has been enormously successful in increasing the number of yellow-eyed penguins from eight breeding pairs when it began, to around 36 pairs today.
The conservation project was established in 1984 by Howard McGrouther and Scott Clarke and has since won several eco-tourism awards.
Finance has been raised for the conservation project by having visitors to the reserve.
They are taken on a guided tour through covered trenches and hidden observation huts, where the birds are oblivious to their presence and so go undisturbed.