The journey to the south is worthwhile! The southern coast of New Zealand is not yet overrun by tourists, but still offers a great experience. From the Gemstone Beach to the Catlins with their great bays and green hillsides, you can spend a few quieter days off the tourist masses. Here we list our highlights.
Gemstone Beach at Orepuki
The Gemstone Beach is a nice quiet beach section on the southwest coast of New Zealand. He is not in the Catlins, but not far away. Just 19 km south of Tuatapere, it is located just off Highway 99. The name “Gemstone” means gem, and indeed the beach is made up of countless small, more or less valuable precious stones.
What gemstones are there at Gemstone Beach?
Garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite are very common. You can often find them after a few seconds or minutes. Also hydroglossulare and saphire can be found with some patience.
At the Slope Point there is a lighthouse and with some luck you can also meet sea lions.
Hector’s dolphins and petrified trees at Curio Bay
Curio Bay is a bay in the middle of the coastal section of the Catlins. There are the rare Hector’s Dolphins and a petrified forest with impressive petrified trees. We saw the petrified trees, but unfortunately we had no luck with the dolphins.
Our absolute highlight in the Catlins was the Nugget Point. Not because of the pretty lighthouse and the sea lions that we saw on the way, but mainly because of the rare yellow-eyed penguin! We were really lucky and could watch several penguins as they caught fish for their little ones.
All in all, a trip to the Catlins is definitely recommendable. Although it is not as spectacular as other areas in New Zealand, it is much quieter and you can really observe great animals!