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One Day Catlins Tour with Bottom Bus
The Catlins Coaster is an off the bus and off the beaten track experience, which will take you to some of New Zealand’s best wildlife and wilderness areas at the bottom of the south island.
It’s a day jam-packed with wildlife – and you’ve got a great chance to see three of the world’s rarest marine animals in the Catlins – the Yellow-eyed penguin, New Zealand sealion and the Hector’s Dolphin. There’s a really good chance to get a really close-up viewing of these creatures – just wait for the guide to show you the best opportunities.
So where is the Catlins? I hear you ask. Well, it’s nestled on the southernmost coast of the south island, between two lighthouses at Waipapa Point and Nugget Point, and it’s a landscape of extreme contrasts.
Here, you’ll see lush rainforest peering over sheer rocky cliffs that border sweeping golden sand beaches. And if that wasn’t enough, there are also stunning waterfalls which cascade down to coastlines exposed to ferocious weather and pounding seas, which have uncovered treasures such as a 180 million-year-old fossilised forest.
So what happens on the Catlins Coaster? Well, it’s a full-day guided tour which starts in Dunedin, heads down to Invercargill, then works its way back up through The Catlins itself. But fear not, you won’t be stuck on the bus all day. Not only will you get off the beaten track, you’ll have the chance to make six to 10 stops for short walks to the natural attractions and wildlife encounters.
You’ll be guided to an amazing 180 million-year-old fossil forest, wander through native rain forest to visit stunning waterfalls, and trek along a ridgeback track to the spectacular Nugget Point lookout.
Don’t forget to add on the wildlife encounters, a couple of lighthouses, and hundreds of years of colonial and Maori history along this rugged coastline. One thing is for sure – you’ll definitely be glad you made it to one of New Zealand’s untouched gems.
The Catlins Coaster has options from Dunedin, Balclutha, Invercargill, Te Anau and Queenstown, with the added flexibility of getting off en-route to explore the Catlins in more detail. Stewart Island is an optional add-on from Invercargill with return ferry or flight transfers.
The bus departs on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from September to November, then daily from December to March (excluding December 24 to January 8), then on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from April to May.
Pick-up times will be confirmed at the time of booking, but make sure you’re ready 15 minutes beforehand. Departure times are 7.15am from Dunedin, 8.15am from Balclutha, 10.30am from Invercargill. Queenstown and Te Anau departures are with a connecting shuttle service – leaving Queenstown at 7am and Te Anau at 7.45am.
You can grab morning tea in Invercargill at the museum café, where you can also meet a real-life Tuatara, New Zealand’s rare and native reptile. There is also a stop for lunch at Curio Bay.
For more information or to make bookings call 03 437 0753 or Freephone: 0800 304 333, email: bookings@CatlinsCoaster.co.nz, or visit www.CatlinsCoaster.co.nz.
You can find out more about bus trips around the bottom of the South Island through Bottom Bus. For more details call 03 437 0753 or email: email@example.com
Rachel stayed at Hogwartz Backpackers on Rattray Street, Dunedin, with hosts Gilbert and Maja. Telephone: 03 474 1487.