South Island - Southlands

Why you should visit Dunedin and the Catlins

  • Take in early pioneers engineering feats alongside spectacular scenery on the Taeri Gorge Railway journey
  • The chance for some wonderful wildlife sightings of penguin, sea lion, albatross and kiwi
  • Visit the Moeraki boulders, formed over millions of years

A little more about Dunedin and the Catlins

The Otago Peninsula is rich in flora and fauna with diverse wildlife, idyllic fishing villages and rolling green pastures. Dunedin's dramatic hills surround a long, natural harbour, which attracted Maori settlers to the site over four centuries ago. More recently the area was settled by whalers, gold miners and migrants from Scotland and China. Memorable for its historical architecture, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Catlins is the southernmost coastal route, some of which is on unsealed roads but makes for a totally absorbing journey with majestic sweeping beaches, native forests and wildlife opportunities at every turn.

Stewart Island, off the far south coast of the country, is New Zealand's third largest island and a truly unspoilt spot; trek one of the many tracks, spot kiwis on the beach and enjoy the rich birdlife of Stewart and nearby Ulva Island.

What wildlife will I see around Dunedin the Otago Peninsula?

The area around Dunedin is home to the endangered yellow-eyed penguin as well as the worlds smallest penguin; the little blue. Also residing on these southern beaches are fur seal colonies as well as hooker sea lions and elephant seals with the oceans beyond being a playground for dolphins including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the hector which can often be seen surfing in on the waves.

This area is also an ornithologist's delight with a colony of albatross as well as kiwi and a host of smaller species.

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