Set on the Catlins coast in the southeastern corner of the South Island is Tautuku Beach. This rugged, remote area is a haven for wildlife known for its fur seals, sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins. If you are lucky you may even spot whales, which is no surprise as Tautuku was once home to a whaling station.
Tautuku Bay itself is a generous sweep of golden sand and widely regarded as one of the best in the Catlins. Backed by dunes and stretching for several kilometres it has a truly wild feel about it.
Exposed to the huge winter swells which drive up from the southern ocean this is also an area popular with surfers. Just around the corner from Tautuku is the Catlins Skeleton Reef, a well known big wave spot in these parts.
It is possible to drive directly onto the beach, and on to the headland beyond with a four by four, making it accessible for those with disabilities or charged with large amounts of gear such as surfers.
A 15 minute one-way walk leads to Lake Willie, roughly halfway along the beach’s length, through podocarp forest alive with further birdlife via a viewpoint that is also accessible for the disabled. However, some of the best views can be had from Florence Hill, which overlooks the beach and the peninsula behind.
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