Starting out from your Dunedin accommodation in the comfort of your private vehicle, this full-day tour follows a southern scenic route to the Catlins. You'll visit the Otago town of Brighton before a photo stop at the mouth of the mighty Taieri River.
Pass through Waihola and Balclutha before arriving in Owaka, gateway to the Catlins. A brief walk with your guide gets you to Nugget Point, which features the iconic rugged shoreline of the Otago Peninsula. From a viewing platform, search the waters for seabirds, New Zealand fur seals and elephant seals (December–February).
Next up is a picturesque bay where rare New Zealand sea lions (aka Hooker's sea lions) are known to haul onto shore. Learn about the breeding habits of these marine mammals before a drive through native coastal rainforest. Another short hike takes you to the Catlins’ tallest waterfall. Listen for birdsong in the bush and learn to identify native plants en route to McLean Falls, arguably the most spectacular of cascades in the region.
Further south, keep an eye out for Hector’s dolphins, attracted to the nutrient-rich waters in warmer months. After light refreshments, follow your guide through an ancient petrified forest whose fossilized remains are revealed at low tide.
Finish your private day trip with the return drive to your hotel in Dunedin, or opt for drop-off in Invercargill or the Stewart Island Ferry Terminal.