Curio Bay – Catlins

Located near the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island, Curio Bay is a coastal area best known as the site of a petrified forest some 180 million years old. Curio Bay is one of the major attractions in the Catlins, attracting around 100,000 visitors per year.

The area hosts a yellow-eyed penguin colony, New Zealand Fur seals and along with Porpoise Bay is home to the Hector’s dolphin. Southern right whales have also been seen in the area.

The town of Waikawa has an information center for tourists, an interesting historic church and Museum. Make sure you get some excellent blue cod and chips from the fish and chip caravan parked across the road from the church.

 

Waikawa Bay from the Air

Curio Bay from the air – you can see the camping ground at the bottom left of the photo, a great spot! There are holiday houses and accommodation on the main road in the center of the photo. Waikawa is just over the hill at the top of the right hand side.

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Yellow Eyed Penguin

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The now petrified logs, from ancient conifers closely related to modern Kauri and Norfolk pine, were buried by ancient volcanic mud flows and gradually replaced by silica to produce the fossils now exposed by the sea.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnown fossil forests of this age are very few throughout the world, this is one of the most extensive and least disturbed of them. At low tide, the remaining tree stumps and logs are exposed and clearly visible. A short walk leads from the car park at the end of the sealed road to a viewing platform over this internationally important area.

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New Zealand fur seal – seals are often seen on the beach below the camping ground and apparently often in the camping ground! I don’t think he or she was too impressed with having it’s photo taken!

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Curio Bay lookout

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking towards the petrified forest

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Evening at Curio Bay

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Another amazing day!  Evening at the holiday house we stayed at for a couple of days on one of our trips to Curio bay. From the dining room table we saw dolphins  surfing the waves and little blue penguins waddled past the house in the evening on their way to their nest, somewhere under the house.

Another beautiful area of the Catlins – see my other posts and you will see why it’s one of our favourite places.

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