Hosts: Fergus & Mary Sutherland.|
When: Any time
Two-day tours run Monday to Wednesday, Wednesday to Friday, and Saturday to Monday
Four-day tours run Monday to Friday, Saturday to Wednesday (Nov to March only)
Group size: One or more
Length: Tours of two and four days are proposed, but other arrangements can be made
Fee charged: (Includes GST & Dept of Conservation concession/ same prices for single visitors):
- Two day tour (2 nights).............$NZ270
- Four day tour (4 nights)............ $NZ540
The Catlins is the forested, hilly, mild, south-eastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is an area that was left alone while other parts of the country went about its business. It is a place where your cell phone won't work.
Accommodation is at our home at Papatowai in the heart of the Catlins. Our house where tour guests stay with us is located on the coast with an elevated and uninterrupted view over a natural scene of native forest, river estuary, beach and ocean -- that's a view from our place above... We provide comfortable accommodation rooms: two doubles and two twins. The two bathrooms are shared. All meals are provided for the duration of the tours and are made with fresh ingredients. Special dietary or privacy needs can be catered for if notified in advance. We supply binoculars for each guest and have outdoor clothing and boots for you to borrow as well as kayaks, snorkelling gear and wet suits should you wish to use them.
WHAT WE DO ON OUR TRIPS:
Our two and four day tours are variable, full of surprises and choices. The first choices are made by us, and these are naturally based on the tide, the season, and the special interests of the visitors we have. Because we know the area so well, we can fit the conditions of the day to our visitors' needs. Our visitors also get to choose just how they will discover the natural history of the area, how active they want to be, whether they will walk a lot, or just a little, get into the water, or stay above it.
The activities or choices that we select from include:
At times we also:
- Observing and learning about New Zealand sea lions and fur seals
- Observing and learning about penguins, yellow eyed and little blue
- Observing and learning about sea birds, gulls, terns, shags, sooty shearwaters
- Observing and learning about wading birds, oyster catchers, stilts, herons, godwits, royal spoonbills ...
- Observing and learning about forest birds, bellbirds, fantails, tomtits, tuis, wood pigeons
- Observing and learning about rare or seldom seen birds, yellow heads, fern birds, kingfishers
- Observing and learning about spiders, wetas, glow worms
- Star gazing, and learning about the Southern Sky
- Beach walking, looking at and learning about seaweeds and shells
- Walking the cliff tops, and learning about the formation of the land
- Forest walking, and learning about NZ native forests, beech and podocarp
- Visiting and learning about early Maori historic sites
- Visiting and learning about early European settlement sites, the old railway, the railway tunnel, historic sawmilling relics
- Visiting waterfalls
- Visiting Lake Wilkie and learning about the development of podocarp forest
- Visiting caves of various sizes
- Fossil finding and geologising
- Learning about the river environment while boating, kayaking or snorkelling
- Swimming and body surfing
- Learning about the marine environment and kelp forests while snorkelling
- Exploring rock pools and the inter tidal zone
- Reading, from our extensive library with its emphasis on natural history and local history.
- Contributing to conservation by collecting litter, keeping observation records, protecting rare plants
- Eating, drinking and talking
- Watch the sun rise
- Walk on the moonlit beach
- Observe Hectors dolphins
- Observe elephant seals
- Observe albatross at sea
- Climb hills
- Play with Cloudberry, the sausage dog
Of course it is not possible to do all these things in one tour, but we can often combine activities: for example visiting sealions is usually associated with a beach walk. It is also not necessary for all the group to do the same thing at any given time. Some may choose to snorkel and others may explore the rock pools and fossils; some may walk for three and a half hours along the river in the beech forest, and others may prefer to be driven into the centre of the forest, sit by the river's edge looking for trout or eels, and wait for the birds to investigate them. Because we keep our groups small, we are able to offer a very personalised, almost individual tour for each of our guests.
We have a policy of setting as few time restrictions on our guests as possible, endeavouring to ensure that there is never a sense of hurry. We allow our guests to decide when they have had long enough at a particular site, or activity. On our Two Day (two night) tour, our guests can expect to take part in about eight of the activities on offer. Guests who choose to come for our Four Day (four night) tour get more of everything, and can expect to double the number of activities.
We also have a policy of providing expert background information for our guests, so that they are better able to appreciate what they see. Our guests have the opportunity to learn a great deal about the Catlins area, its geology; its human and natural history; its flora and fauna. They also have the opportunity to learn about things which are more general such as astronomy in the Southern sky, conservation, education and the arts in New Zealand, while they spend time with us in our comfortable family home.
We are stimulated by the glimpses of other lands and cultures, the differing attitudes and the wonderful company our visitors provide. Every visitor we have is a special person, and we enjoy sharing what we can with each and every one of them.
CONSERVATION CONTRIBUTION ON OUR ECOTOURS:
You will be contributing to conservation of wildlife on every tour. We make wildlife observations, trap non-native predators and remove weeds. The work break programme involves specific projects for penguins, plant and history conservation as well as educational workshops. We work to a code of sustainable environmental practice and are part-time Department of Conservation rangers We are sensitive to the cultural environment that we live in.
GETTING HERE AND AWAY FOR OUR ECOTOURS:
Our tours start from Balclutha (on the road between Dunedin and Invercargill), or visitors may drive themselves to our place. There are same day connections on transport services to and from Balclutha to Dunedin, Invercargill or Te Anau, also accommodation options at Balclutha. Let us know your needs and we can suggest a number of connections.