The Catlins: South Island NZ

Nov 18th, 2004, 08:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
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The Catlins: South Island NZ

What is the best way to see the Catlins if we only have 1-2 days and will be staying in Dunedin? We are more interested in scenery/coastline/waterfalls than wildlife (though we like wildlife too). I read about 1-day tours from Dunedin with Catlins Coastal Link, but they do not have a website. Does anyone have any experiences with them or another tour? I am nervous about driving there ourselves as I've read part of the road is unsealed.
Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Nov 18th, 2004, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Tim and Liz

If you do nto have a problem with driving in general - We drove from Dunedin to Queenstown just a couple of weeks ago and can not remember any unsealed road - and we took coastal scenic coastal route. Exception might be on some of the turn offs or side roads - we took a side route to a light house (Nuget Point - I think) that was unsealed - but a very good road raod nevertheless - it is absolutely not anything close to an off road situation. Otherwise, it was very beautiful and very pleasant drive. Opinions may vary, but I liked the first part fo the drive from Dunedin to Invecargil (sp?) the best.

I did paid my NZ taxes (i.e., speed trap in leaving Dunedin - e.g., radar around a curve cutting across traffic and going up hill.) I was going 16 k/h over speed limit - but really. Anyway made sure I paid the ticket and and kept to 50 k/h in town. Learned later that if your under 10 k/h they may give a warning.

BTW: Dunedin does have a very good tourist Information site that should be able to help on tours.

Driving Catlins is a good choice - the only frustrating part was wanting to stop every other miel to take more pictures.

While you in Dunedin - hope you see the penguins.

WA is offline  
Nov 19th, 2004, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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WA, I've already been warned about the police, and now, after reading your story, I will be very careful not to go too fast.
How long did it take you to drive from Dunenin to Queenstown? Is it possible to do it in one day? I was thinking of driving the shortest route, but I'd love to go down and around the coast.
Tim, I'm not heard of any unsealed roads on that route, but then, I haven't been there either.
kodi is offline  
Nov 19th, 2004, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The Southern Scenic Route site talks about unsealed roads, but it does not specifically say that it is part of the main road.

"The beauty of the Southern Scenic Route is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, with frequent breaks, short walks and overnight stays along the way. The following are estimated driving times only. Motorists not familiar with country or unsealed roads are advised to allow additional travelling time. Cyclists should be prepared for frequent and substantial hill climbs at all stages, and slower times on unsealed roads."

However, the Catlins site, does say that:

"The map below illustrates the Southern Scenic Route. The route runs from Dunedin in the North through to Invercargill in the South (passing through the Catlins) and up to Te Anau.
It is clearly marked along the highway with frequent signposts. The road is sealed, apart from a 20km gravel section in the Southern Catlins area south of Papatowai (care is needed on this section of the road). $5.1 million has been allocated to complete the road sealing which will be finished by mid 2005."

Some info on Catlins Coastal Link can be found at :

Is this what you had seen?
Jed is offline  
Nov 19th, 2004, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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The southern scenic route is fine to drive on. The main thing to remember about any unsealed road that you encounter, anywhere in NZ or elsewhere, is to "slow down". Its only idiots or people with a death wish that drive fast on unsealed roads.
tropo is offline  
Nov 19th, 2004, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15

I am thinking it was about 9 hours or less - certainly can be done in one day. We did not get out of Dunedin until about 11:00 and arrived at about 10:00 with several stops - including a
trip to Bluff on the way.

I do wish I had left earlier because the view of the snow capped moutains as you come to the last hour of the trip would have been nice. But I am sure if you leave Dunedin by 8 or 9 am you can take you time and enjoy the ride.

WA is offline  
Nov 26th, 2004, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it. I suppose I'm getting tired these days, and didn't realize I posted almost the same questions again this morning. Sorry!
It does sound like a great day. And I will leave as early as possible to make the most of the scenery and the stops.
Oh, I can't wait!!
kodi is offline  

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