Plan a Romantic Getaway, Anniversary or Honeymoon to The Catlins
Escape the tourist trail and connect with nature (and one another) on a romantic getaway to The Catlins. Whether you’re looking for a trip to celebrate your anniversary, honeymoon or simply want to travel together, The Catlins offers couples an array of romantic and humbling experiences. It’s a place where encounters with penguins, sea lions and seals are an everyday occurrence, where waterfalls offer a romantic backdrop to your walk, and where sunrises and sunsets are so vivid that it feels like its just the two of you on the edge of the earth. While accommodations are by no means “luxury”, the quaint studios, B&Bs and eco-parks still offer an endearing retreat for those wanting to escape to nature.
Plan your romantic getaway, anniversary or honeymoon with this complete honeymoon guide to The Catlins.
Honeymoon Activities in The Catlins
- Watch the sunset from the Tautuku Estuary
- Walk to the picturesque Purakaunui Falls
- Stroll hand-in-hand to the majestic McLean Falls
- Enjoy some cute wildlife viewings
- Do an eco-tour with Catlins Scenic & Wildlife Tours
- Admire The Catlins scenery from horseback
- Team up on a kayaking adventure at Nugget Point
- Stop for a seafood lunch.
For more details on each experience, see the 8 Romantic Activities in The Catlins for Couples.
Romantic Adventures in The Catlins
Unlike the rest of New Zealand, the tours and paid activities in The Catlins are minimal. Nevertheless, the few that are available allow couples to get more out of The Catlins Coast, not only “seeing” a place but learning about it. For instance, Catlins Scenic & Wildlife Tours, which is run by the couple who own Catlins Mohua Park that features in our romantic accommodation listings, offer several eco-tours and ATV tours. With more than 20 years’ of wildlife-viewing experience in The Catlins, they offer you a high chance of spotting sea lions, penguins, seals, birds and more. Their Sunrise Tour is a good option for couples, taking you out at the most romantic time of day to see yellow-eyed penguins in a private location.
Another way to explore The Catlins with your loved one is on horseback, walking or cantering over lush farmland, beaches, hilltops, native bush and more. Catlins Horse Riding with Te Taunga Adventures offers one-hour to six-hour treks across their diverse 660ha (1,631-acre) farm incorporating an array of Catlins’ scenery. Whatever your experience or ability, they’ll ensure you have an as relaxed or high-powered day as you choose.
For more romantic adventures, check out the 8 Romantic Activities in The Catlins for Couples.
Free Romantic Activities in The Catlins
There are so many free activities in The Catlins, that you always end up missing a few. If you find romance in picturesque nature and wildlife, then you’ll love the sights of The Catlins.
Waterfalls are always a great way to woo your loved one, with some of the most picture-perfect falls being Purakaunui Falls, accessed on an easy 20-minute walk through lush beech forest, following footbridge over gentle streams along the way. Another waterfall delight is McLean Falls, which is worth arriving early before the crowds to get some romantic holiday snaps. The falls are on a 40-minute return walk.
If seeing cute wildlife makes your heart melt, then you have plenty of opportunity for watching penguins, seals and sea lions in The Catlins. A romantic stroll on the beach at Waipapa Point, Surat or Cannibal Bay often includes winding between New Zealand sea lions (giving them plenty of distance, of course). If you head to Roaring Bay or Curio Bay either before 9am or after 3pm, you stand a pretty good chance of seeing the elusive and rare yellow-eyed penguins waddling between their nests and the Pacific Ocean. Finally, seals are often seen on many beaches in The Catlins, but an almost guaranteed viewing is from the viewpoint of Nugget Point.
Finally, for a romantic stroll at sunset, head to the Tautuku Estuary Boardwalk. After a short walk through the forest, you’ll emerge on a boardwalk over the estuary flats where the vibrantly-coloured jointed rush gains an extra glow as the sun is going down. Also, listen out for the rare but noisy fernbird.
For more free attractions to check out, see the 18 Amazing Attractions You Can’t Miss in The Catlins.
Romantic Restaurants in The Catlins
In the down-to-earth and remote region of The Catlins, couples will find quaint cafes and hidden-gem restaurants between waterfall visits and wildlife encounters.
Relax at The Whistling Frog Cafe and Bar (9 Rewcastle Road, Papatowai), a warm and inviting restaurant with indoor and alfresco dining. Enjoy their homemade and homegrown ingredients to create flavoursome meals, from award-winning Kiwi savoury pies to craft beer-battered fish and chips.
As the sun goes down, there’s no better place to be than The Point Cafe (58 Esplanade, Kaka Point) basking in Pacific Ocean views. Their seafood platter is a highlight and is ideal to share along with a Catlins Brewery craft beer or a regional wine.
And for a relaxing cafe experience, enjoy the historical setting of an old school building in Niagara Falls Cafe (256 Niagara-Waikawa Road, Waikawa). Admittedly, their meals aren’t anything fancy but they’re made with homegrown ingredients and are hearty. We prefer to call in for a quick coffee and a slice, personally.