Kaka Point - Map reference 26

Kaka Point is a small and pretty settlement at the Balclutha end of The Catlins, It is located 14 km from Balclutha and 8 km from Nugget Point. It is well worth the visit, along with the nearby Molyneaux, a long spread of beach and rocky outcrops. 

Kaka Point is named after the New Zealand parrot, the Kaka, a now hard to find and rare sight. 

Boardwalk over the Tautuku Estuary: (signposted) (Map Reference No 10)

Park at the end of the road just over the Fleming River. Turn around on arrival to avoid being locked in by other vehicles. You will walk down the abandoned rail bed of a hand dug log hauler cut. The cuts criss-cross the Catlins bush and were dug by hand and excavated with a wheel barrow. Back breaking work. The boardwalk at the end of the track will lead you out to a prehistoric visa of jointed reeds and you may get lucky and see one of the small native fern birds that live in the area. Allow 30 minutes for the walk out there and back.


Waipapa Point (Map reference No 1)

This is a rocky promontory on the coastline of the Catlins. There have been many shipwrecks in the region. The most notable of these was the wreck of the passenger steamer Tararua which foundered off Waipapa Point on 29 April 1881 with the loss of all but 20 of the 151 people aboard.

Waipapa Point lies in the far southwest of the Catlins.

A lighthouse was built on the point in response to the tragedy; it began operating in 1884. This was one of the last two wooden lighthouses built in New Zealand. It is still active, and was automated in 1976.

Visitors now enjoy the golden beach, sea lions, rock platform and lighthouse.

Waipapa Point


Waipohatu (Map reference no 3)

There is a 30 minute easy forest walk following the Waipohatu stream. It gives an opportunity to view virgin coastal rainforest and a great oppotunity to view a variety of ferns.

Maori legend has it that large hairy giants called Maeroero inhabited these valleys of bush. This is a Wildman of Maori mythology who had a hairy body and lived alone in the mountains. He had long fingernails which were his weapon for killing people. There was a similar creature who lived in the forests called Maero.

A track, opposite the toilets, from the main carpark leads to an old Fordson tractor log hauler.


Tunnel Beach Track (Map reference No 22)

Time: 1 hr return

Distance: 2 km

Follow the fenced track downhill to the spectacular, rocky coastline. At the end of the track is a short tunnel with steps leads down to the beach. This track crosses private land - please respect the landowner's property and livestock. Closed for lambing, 1 August to 31 October.

The tunnel was excavated by hand 1893-1895 tfor the Balcutha - Tahakopa Railway. A torch is recommended.

Getting there

Tunnel Beach Track

From SH1, South Dunedin, follow the Southern Scenic Route sign to Blackhead Road. Turn on to Green Island Bush Road and stop at the carpark.

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The Catlins New Zealand

There is so much to see and do in this amazing area of New Zealand's South Island. Whether you are a hiking enthusiastic or a weekend stroller, the many attractions offer an incredible diversity of flora, fauna and scenery.

contact details

Ph 03 415 8338

Rewcastle Rd,
The Catlins,
New Zealand

On the Southern Scenic Route