Discover the Enchanting Walks of The Catlins, New Zealand

Catlins Walks

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    The Catlins, a captivating region in the southern part of New Zealand's South Island, offers a unique blend of coastal beauty and forested wilderness. Here’s a guide to some of the best walks that allow you to immerse yourself in its natural wonders.

    McLean Falls Walk: A Journey to a Cascading Wonder

    Embark on the McLean Falls Walk, a well-maintained track that promises a moderate walk leading to the stunning McLean Falls. Spanning a 40-minute return journey, this path takes you through lush forest to the waterfall that cascades majestically over a 22-meter drop. 

    It's an ideal spot for those who appreciate serene natural settings paired with the melodious sounds of falling water. Along the way, you'll cross several wooden bridges and follow a trail lined with native ferns and trees, which create a canopy that frames the sky beautifully. 

    The walk is not just about the destination; the journey itself is enveloped in the tranquil sounds of birds and the rustling of leaves, making it a therapeutic escape into nature.

    McLean Falls

    Cathedral Caves Walk: Marvel at Geological Splendors

    The Cathedral Caves Walk offers a relatively easy trek that can be completed in about an hour return. It takes you through native bush and opens up to a spectacular beach where the Cathedral Caves stand. 

    These caves are accessible only at low tide, so planning your visit according to the tidal schedule is crucial to experience this natural marvel. The walk through the forest reveals glimpses of the sea as you approach the beach, setting the stage for the dramatic reveal of the caves. 

    These towering sea-formed caverns are one of the area's geological wonders, with the largest chamber standing at an impressive 30 meters high. This natural cathedral offers a unique echo and atmosphere, making it a must-visit for photographers and nature lovers alike.

    Banner CVNZ

    Matai Falls Walk: Double the Beauty

    For a shorter yet rewarding experience, the Matai Falls Walk leads you to not one, but two beautiful waterfalls—Matai Falls and Horseshoe Falls. This easy 20-minute return track is enveloped in lush greenery, enhancing the tranquil sounds of the cascading waters. It's a perfect quick escape into nature. 

    The path is well-trodden and suitable for all ages, making it an excellent option for families. As you approach the falls, the sound of water grows louder, culminating in the breathtaking sight of Matai Falls, which plunges into a clear pool below. 

    Just a few steps further, Horseshoe Falls offers a charming contrast with its graceful, curved drop, surrounded by vibrant green moss and ferns that thrive in the moist environment.

    Matai Falls

    Purakaunui Falls Walk: Embrace the Challenge

    The Purakaunui Falls Walk ups the ante with a moderate difficulty level but rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the three-tiered Purakaunui Falls. Taking about 1.5 hours to complete, this trail offers a fulfilling experience for those looking for a bit more challenge paired with spectacular scenic payoffs. 

    The trail meanders through ancient forests, featuring a rich tapestry of native flora that adds to the sense of adventure as you climb towards the falls. The highlight is undoubtedly the view of Purakaunui Falls, where water cascades elegantly over moss-covered rocks, creating a mesmerizing natural spectacle. 

    Photographers and nature enthusiasts will find this spot particularly rewarding, as the falls provide a stunning backdrop for photography and the surrounding area teems with birdlife.

    Purakaunui Falls

    Taieri Millennium Track: Explore the Riverscape

    For a longer adventure, the Taieri Millennium Track is a great choice. Following the Taieri River, this track extends over four hours one way, presenting varied landscapes and the tranquil river setting. It’s also a viable route for experienced bikers looking for a scenic ride. 

    As you travel along this path, the river's constant presence adds a peaceful soundtrack to your journey, with opportunities to spot wildlife along the banks. The track is well-marked and traverses several eco-zones, including grasslands, lowland forests, and wetlands, each offering its own unique natural beauty and challenges. 

    This track is ideal for those who want to spend a day immersed in the natural beauty of The Catlins, with plenty of spots for picnics and rest along the way.

    To truly immerse yourself in the beauty of The Catlins, consider renting a campervan. This not only gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace but also connects you more deeply with the landscapes you traverse. Check out options and plan your trip with Campervan Rentals New Zealand.

    The Catlins beckons with its promise of peace, natural beauty, and adventure. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a casual explorer, the walks in The Catlins offer something magical that can’t be found elsewhere. So why wait? Start planning your journey today and prepare to be enchanted by the raw, untouched beauty of The Catlins.

    Banner CVNZ

    Let’s go on an adventure!

    Unbeatable prices. Premium customer service.

    Book now
    Campervan New ZealandBook now