Papatowai – Catlins

Papatowai is a small settlement in the Catlins district,  situated at the mouth of the Tahakopa River.  With a permanent population of about 30, the population rises dramatically during the holiday season.

Usually a very quiet spot, lots of birds, great beaches, walks and scenery. The DOC (Department of Conservation) camping ground is just behind the store and offers sheltered camp sites and toilets.

Papatowai is surrounded by native podocarp forest and there are numerous walks in the area to waterfalls, beaches and bush.

Papatowai is a favourite for New Zealands big wave riders as this place can get huge wages. Papatowai Breaks out on the reef at the point with a huge right hand reef break and also a gnarly left hander. Experts only, watch out for sea weed and rocks. It gets colder down this area, so wear plenty of rubber.

How to get there – From Dunedin head South on State Highway 1. When you get to Balclutha turn left onto High Street (Signs to Owaka), then turn right onto Owaka Highway. When you get to Owaka turn left onto Papatowai Highway and continue on to papatowai

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DSC_2741New Zealand Wood Pigeon


Our Golden Labrador puppy Max


A two minute walk down the track from the camping ground will bring you to this spot. From here it’s about a 15 minute walk to the beach.



A sheltered private camping ground behind the store on the main road.



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